I am a native of Oklahoma; nevertheless, I, like others, wonder why people continue to live in areas that are repeatedly devastated by Mother Nature. Indubitably, some of those wiped out in that pernicious "alley" yesterday will return to face peril yet again next tornado season. Hurricane Sandy cleared a big swath of its own last fall. As I was writing this, people were pounding nails into studs, rebuilding on the very same sites where their previous homes stood, before being washed and blown out to sea. Katrina deluged New Orleans. When the waters receded, real life muck and mire were stuck everywhere to everything. Yet, many — though not all — returned, so that the good times could roll once again. It would appear rolling up our collective sleeves is who we are.
However, we do have an alternative choice that may be safe. We could all move to the deserts of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico and live in high-tech concrete dome enclosures. No threat of widespread fire in the desert. No floods to speak of. No hurricanes or tornadoes. No volcanoes. And probably no substantial earthquakes in that general area. Paradise?
Hmmmm . . . of course, some of us DO like living in the desert. Good for them. I happen to like living among Oregon's mountains and forests. Good for me. (And trust me, the mountains and forests truly are "good" for me.) But we are spread across the globe. Apparently, because of our various proclivities, idiosyncrasies, wants, desires, and aesthetic gratification "fixes".
Some stay "fixed" where they were born. Others of us move around as our resources allow us and our whims prod us. Once re-rooted, perhaps we purchase an umbrella for the first time. Or a sun hat. Or a parka. Lifestyle modifications are made. Further adaptations for individuals of our species. Even though our new place occasionally threatens to kill us. We adapt knowing we may die despite our changes. Because of our changes. Happiness, we reason, is worth that risk. Many risks.
Places in the heart. Be they ever so healing . . . and calamitous.