Flashback to 1996.
I’m 14. The movie Twister has just come out. And more than anything else, I want to be a tornado chaser. I am that geeky girl who dreams of moving to Oklahoma, getting a Dodge Ram, and moping through the winter until it’s glorious tornado season once again.
I like to think this silly part of my life is well in the past, but I would just be kidding myself and everyone else. I was reminded that I still have a touch of Twister in me the other day, as dark clouds built outside the coffee shop where I was trying to finish my first Master’s submission. I left the computer screen and bolted outside, where I stood in rapt attention as the temperature dropped and wind picked up. I watched the lightning, smelled that impending storm smell, and closed my eyes to feel the breeze on my face. What was it that still fascinated me about this weather well after I’d given up my dream of that Dodge Ram pickup?
Maybe it’s the promise of watching something both dangerous and beautiful at the same time. Maybe it’s the chance of seeing something rare, something different. Most likely it’s the raw power of a thunderstorm as it barrels across the land, showing no mercy, that raises the hairs on my arms. Do I need to get out more? Perhaps. But sometimes (mostly when I should be doing other things), I am no happier than when I am leaning on a porch railing, camera in hand (just in case), feeling a damp wind on my face, and scanning the horizon for cracks of light and whirling wind.
And it is in these moments I realize that you can take the girl out of the rural, but you can’t take the rural out of the girl.