On the one year anniversary of the tornado that tore through our town on its way from Springfield to to Southbridge, I was tempted to write about the event. Sometimes I have to let others speak, and admit that the words that I could write would add little to the remembrance of that day. Then, I thought about 215 Main Street.
215 Main Street is a handsome, recently built colonial home that until that day the tornado arrived, was surrounded by tall pines. The tornado came from the west, across Route 84, into the Days Inn on Haynes Street, down and onto the wetlands behind the Public House, and up the rise behind the Sturbridge Auto Body on its way to Fiske Hill. The tornado came up that rise directly toward 215 Main Street.
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215 Main Street two years before the tornado. For a view of how the area looked before the storm, click on the above photo for the street view on Google Maps, and follow the road to town.
Acres of tall pines, and other trees were snapped, and tossed about the landscape. The auto body building was destroyed. The trees behind, on both sides, and in front of 215 Main Street were snapped, and blown over, but number 215 Main Street was untouched.
The morning after the storm I walked along Main Street, and was stunned by the devastation. I was even more taken aback by that colonial house on Main Street. Although destruction surrounded the home on all sides, it was if two hands had cupped themselves around it during those high winds, and spared the house, and those within, from harm.
There was so much to take in during those days after the storm. So much damage. It's natural for ones eyes to focus on the damage, after all, that is what a tornado is, but there in the midst of all that was broken was a sign. A sign that despite it all, all the power, all the unstoppable destruction of those winds, there was a moment of mercy.
Today, after a year, that touch of mercy, and so many others, have spread from the initial horrendous moment. They have comforted those hurt, reassured those repairing things broken, given hope to those still struggling, and confirmed to the rest of us that there are always signs of promise amidst the havoc. One need only to have faith, and look.
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