I have never seen a tornado outside of the glamorizations of the movie Twister. I often imagine them to be beautiful, destructive, chaotic, massive, tyrannical, mesmerizing, erratic phenomenas. They are forces of nature that destroy with no preconceived notions of equality. A force with which none can reckon.
After doing a little light reading on tornadic activity (about two hours worth,) I stumbled upon this definition of a tornado on Wikipedia and for this post’s purpose, it will suffice:
A tornado (often referred to as a twister or, erroneously, a cyclone) is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, but are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris and dust.
That’s exactly how I feel. Violent, dangerous, in contact with both the ground and the clouds, and encircled by debris and dust, (although not in the way in which we see Pigpen so lovingly portrayed).
In mind I am in a constant state of chaos with flying debris. There are too many thoughts, images, sounds, memories, ideas and words to keep track of. In body there are too many inconsistencies, juxtapositions, wounds, scars and failures to accurately explain. It’s been best guessed that there are near three quarters of a million words in the English language, none of which I can place in a suitable enough order to describe my state of being, except simply “tornado.”
My mind often ends up in what I can best describe as a dreamlike state, although I am fully awake when this happens. Eyes open or shut, my vision goes dark and all I can see is this floating mass. It seems alive as it pulsates, expands and contracts, and grows. It’s like a large ball of lightly tangled yarn, only the strings are flowing, electric. Alive. There is static discharging from every side. It is in shades of red, black, green, and blue that I have never seen before (except when this happens,) could never accurately describe, and quite frankly Crayola couldn’t begin to fathom. The longer the mass is in my vision the worse things get. It pulsates faster, it expands and stops contracting, the electricity and static become less flowing and more the slashing of a whip. My heart begins to beat uncontrollably, breathing becomes near impossible, my teeth begin to hum and then it sets in. Rage. Completely unforeseen and I can do nothing to stop it. I imagine this is how The Incredible Hulk feels as he transforms, thankfully I do not turn green and ruin all of my shirts. Much like a tornado the aftermath and it’s lasting effects are often proportional to the size and duration of the mass’ destructive force. The longer it stays and the bigger it gets, the more disoriented I become, the longer it takes to recover. At first I found myself getting back to normal in a matter of hours, then it became days. Lately it’s been closer to weeks.
I used to think the presence of and frequency at which the mass would appear could be attributed to the usual stressors in one’s life. Money, car, job, family, societal pressures, so on and so forth. Lately it seems there is no logic to be found in it’s role. It simply needs the right mixture of natural causes at the right times. Since I’ve not really found myself to be a huge fan of the devastating effects of the mass, I Googled “how do tornadoes end” and found this:
Weather systems, like all natural phenomena, have a beginning and an end. Thankfully, tornados are not an exception.
As the warm air powers up through the center of the tornado and continues up through the thunder cell, the descending cold air moves toward the outside of the thundercell and eventually wraps around the rotating system, cutting off the inflow of warm air which feeds the tornado.
This cold air completely wraps around and chokes off the tornado’s air supply, and the tornado begins to weaken, becoming thin and rope-like. This is the dissipating stage, and the tornado often dissolves within minutes. During the dissipating stage, the tornado becomes highly influenced by the direction of surface winds, and can be blown into fantastic flexible patterns.
I don’t know about you, but reading that did not assuage my fear in any way. I find myself unable to get past the part where I have to be influenced and then eventually choked out by something “cooler”. Now that I’ve re-read this becoming fantastically flexible seems not so bad. Given the lasting repercussions of any natural disaster, I have to find a way to make the tornadoes stop. I fear if I fail, this will be the end of me. Whether that be a literal or allegorical end, it will be an unpleasant one.
The question remains, where is my cool air and at what price will it be found?