Life Lessons Learned

The recent outbreak of tornadoes in the Midwest brought back memories of a time in the past. I remember in early 1974, as tornado season approached our thoughts always turned to the possibility of being hit with a devastating storm or even a killer tornado.

Thinking how I would like to see a tornado sometime before I died, Almost with some quilt I realized this was a morbid thought and I didn’t want to see anyone harmed or killed because of something I wanted to experience.

The longer I thought of this, it almost seemed like a tornado was going to happen, regardless of whether I wanted to see one or not.  Eventually deciding that if one was going to occur, I wanted to see it up close and personal.It seemed as if spirit was guiding me, maybe there was a lesson to be learned through all of this.

Little did I know, my wishes would soon be fulfilled. The morning of April 3rd, 1974 began like any other day. It soon became apparent that something was in the air. About mid-morning the air changed, soon winds were changing direction, one minute there would be warm breezes, the next  the air would be cold resulting in alternating rain storms, hail and high winds, something was up!

About noon the storm warnings went up and the feeling was it was going to be a long day.Soon  the tornado warnings came. Continuously keeping one eye on the sky and somehow knowing that whatever was developing, it wasn’t
going to be good.

The winds were getting stronger and constantly changing direction, not knowing when a sudden gust would come, It became increasingly difficult to drive or even walk.

I had an appointment that evening and as a result, began taking shortcuts not normally taken. Realizing later that spirit had arranged this to enable me to more fully understand the promptings of the soul.

Entering the small town of Bear Branch Indiana, the sky looked as if it was one big funnel cloud, terminating in the southwest. Not a good sign, tornadoes always come from the southwest.

Discovering that a tornado was on the ground in Madison Indiana, was a cause for concern, Madison was directly southwest of where I was standing. Not wanting to waste any time and finish my day as soon as possible, the journey was resumed.

Delivering to a tractor dealership, it was time for the last  shortcut of the day. It meant driving down a gravel road and driving through a creek for about a quarter of a mile, reconnecting with the road on the other side of the creek and driving home.

Nearing the farmhouse, I then realized I wouldn’t be able to ford the creek, it had been raining hard all day,  the creek would be flooded and impassable. Entering the barnyard of my next and last delivery, the farmers were standing out in the yard, watching a large tornado, which at this point in time was not touching down.

This would be a good time to find a basement. Asking about one, the homeowner  informed us  they had none. How can that be, every house in Indiana has a basement. Assuming the tornado wasn’t going to touch down,  the delivery was made and I started back in the direction from whence I came. Not much use staying here, had to get home.

 Turning onto the road from the driveway, looking  up at the sky, suddenly  the funnel rapidly descended towards the earth, and it was so close  I couldn’t see the edge of it as I looked out the windshield. Looks like we are going to have a ringside seat for this one.

The tornado struck with a vengence, about a mile north of where we were standing. Trees were breaking like tooth picks, tractors, mobile homes and other materials were flying through the air with the greatest of ease, all the while where we were standing, it was perfectly calm. It was like we were watching a movie.

Resuming my path, I soon found myself following a fire truck with the firemen with chain saws clearing the road of fallen trees  so traffic could get through. The little town of Bear Branch was almost totally destroyed, as was the tractor dealership where I would have been if I hadn’t decided to take an alternate route.

Much destruction and loss of life resulted from that fateful afternoon when 147 tornadoes struck in 12 states.For many people, it took years to recover, and some never did.

Knowing that everything happens for a reason, and there are no coincidences in life, the realization came that each and every one of the participants in this life lesson on some level agreed to participate and be taught whatever spiritual lesson they needed. If the lessons were learned well, they would be the better for it. Sometimes it is a hard lesson to comprehend, but each and everyone of them volunteered to encounter whatever hardship they faced.

 As for myself, I am still learning many lessons  from that day nearly forty years ago.

The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,

Your comments are welcome

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Wisdom lost through the ages

There is an extreme shortage of common sense in today’s world, When looking back in history, I soon discovered this has always been a problem, Benjamin Franklin once said, ”Of all the senses, common sense seems to be the one that is used the least.”
As obvious as it may seem, many seem to be totally oblivious to it. Most, if not all of the problems the world faces today could be solved if people would just sit back and think about what would seem to be the most obvious and simple solution to any issue. Often times people tend to overcomplicate the issues.
I often think back to what my parents and grandparents believed and said, at the time I thought they were totally out of their mind and ignored it. I now wish I would have listened and followed their advice.
It is now evident they were a lot smarter than we gave them credit for. Many times, in today’s world, the schools and universities can no longer be counted on to teach truth and values that will guide someone through life.

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