I still monitor most of the weather guys and storm chasers on teh twittah. I haven't forgotten those few moments that lasted forever, when we got hit by a surprise tornado after a beautiful day of clear skies on April 9, 2009. I may not freak out quite so badly every time the wind blows as I once did, but I still get nervous when severe weather happen.
The same thing has happened in the last 14 or so months since the time TEXAS WAS BURNING after TS Lee gave us a lot of dry wind. We were driving home from town when we saw smoke on the horizon, and it seemed like Texas just burned, and burned, and burned. Until it didn't. It was rough, y'all.
I still get a little freaked out when I see smoke on the horizon. While I may have hidden my little checklist of "things to do before driving the magic bus to safety without fucking it up too badly", I haven't forgotten that I almost needed it not so long ago.
I was recently reminded of how awful that living nightmare was. I was on my way to Dallas to visit my friend the superhero, and we drove through some of the towns that had been affected on our way to the metroplex. Wikipedia provides a summary of what east Texas went through while that fucking asslord governor campaigned to become president instead of doing his fucking job.
What I saw was a haunting reminder of how bad it was. We drove past miles and miles of wasteland. You could clearly see where the fires had raged, consuming everything in their path. The billboards in Avinger thanking the firefighters were still there, a token display of the gratitude that all of us who lived through the fires feel but can't quite properly express.
Driving past all of that charred landscape was a bit like being in the twilight zone or something. It was far worse than the scars that remain on the earth just 8 miles from our magic bus from the fires that had us driving through smoke for what felt like weeks. We literally drove through miles and miles and miles of scorched earth. While the Bastrop fire in Southeast Texas got media more coverage, the Bear Creek Fire was a monstrously large part of what became known as the Northeast Texas Fire Complex. Bear Creek alone burned more than 43,000 acres. Y'all, this part of Texas lost a lot, and it still shows.
Some of the areas that burned have been cleared. Others have not. Either way, it was obvious where the fires had raged. I felt as if we were driving through a war zone or something. There was just so much destruction; it stretched for miles and miles and miles and miles. It was far worse than the scars one can still see driving westward through east Texas on I20, and that's pretty bad.
While I know that we escaped the Northeast Texas Fire Complex relatively unscathed, it was still pretty traumatic to live through. I can't even begin to imagine how horrible it must have been for the people of Avinger and all of the other towns we drove through.
Sometimes, times does heal wounds. While we never forget traumatic events, often we can forget precisely how horrific it was. Thank heaven for that.