Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Weird Weather

The onset of spring is a menace and a blessing. Allen Bush hunts for flowers amid the extremes.


The view down Pennington Lane, Louisville, KY,

in the author’s old neighborhood, April 3, 1974

Photo: Walter McCord

from Tornado: A Look Back at Louisville’s Dark Day

By Allen Bush

I like to think the worst weather is over by March but it doesn’t work that way. There are more surprises in store in April. When the winds begin to rattle the window jambs at this time of year I get the heebie jeebies. It means it’s tornado season in Kentucky.  For a long time I thought Lenten twisters were meant for trailer parks. I grew-up imagining that my suburban neighborhood of solid brick homes made us more virtuous, and immune. 

That changed on April 3, 1974. I was a few hundred yards from the path of a Louisville tornado, holed-up in a friend’s basement. It hop-scotched across the Fairgrounds, the Highlands, Cherokee Park, Crescent Hill, Rolling Fields and Indian Hills before bouncing over to Northfields. I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your brick houses down. And the big bad wolf did.

The physical destruction was indelible: huge trees snapped in half and homes destroyed.  The National Guard secured damaged neighborhoods for a couple of weeks while debris was cleared from roadways, and power was restored slowly over the next six weeks. Neighbors pitched-in, picking-up and hacking away. By summer, this moment of neighborly clarity receded when everyone – well, at least those with standing houses—returned to the shut-in privacy of their air-conditioned homes.  Suburban detachment resumed.

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Posted by Julie on 03/31 at 03:46 PM
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