I went back to my home town this weekend, for quite a few reasons that aren’t important to this entry. For those of you that don’t know, I am from Tuscaloosa, which was really hard hit by the April 27th tornadoes last year.
The middle of my town is a scar.
It’s been over a year, and there are buildings that look like they got hit last week. There are shopping centers and homes that are still just gone. The country may have moved on, but it’s a daily reality there. It’s just life.
I was driving through neighborhoods that I grew up in, neighborhoods that I walked home from school in and learned to drive in, and I didn’t know where I was. The streets are the same, but everything looks different, like some alien force lifted out part of my city and replaced it with some other city.
It couldn’t be mine, you see; my city had trees.
Even today, that’s what is so starkly different. Even when all the buildings are back, the houses rebuilt, the lake filled again, the trees will take decades to come back. There will be a scar in the center of my city, a reminder of what was lost. A few minutes of destruction, and it could take how many years to heal?
But I was happy, too. I saw houses rebuilt, businesses reopened. Not everywhere, and some blocks are still just gone, but we are rebuilding. We are healing. And that is good, but I think there will be reminders there for a while, for those who knew the city before.