Friday, March 16, 2007

What Went Before

It turns out that our home is aptly named Windswept Cottage.

Before 1991, a horse barn and corral stood on this piece of land. They belonged to the house just south of us.

According to the neighbors, the infamous 1991 Andover tornado, an F5 killer that stayed on the ground for 46 miles and about 50 minutes, started near here and took out the horse barn, the corral, and the house to the south before heading on to the northeast. Afterwards, the owners simply sold off this 10 acres, rather than rebuilding the barn.

I did a little internet research yesterday and found out that, if it was the Andover tornado, this occurred on April 26, 1991. At this point in its lifecycle, the tornado would actually only have been an F2 or F3; it strengthened as it moved northeast. However, there was another "Clearwater tornado" that occurred that year, on May 16, 1991. This second tornado also took out several farms and homes. I think the only way I'll be able to find out which tornado actually took out the barn here will be to research in the archives of the Clearwater and/or Wichita papers.

The history of place. In knowing this, I can't decide if I feel more secure, assuming that "lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place," or if this makes me want to build a saferoom in the basement for sure!

Maybe it's my imagination, but to the northeast of our yard, the trees seem to be smaller and younger in a pathway that spans several hundred feet and continues for a quarter mile or more.

And there's the impression of a perfect circle in the grass of the front yard. It's large and hard to see from ground level, but it's very obvious from our closet window. The ghost, in land form, of the horse corral.

Remnants of what happened here and what went before? I think so...and it adds a textural layer to our new home. The hurricanes of the Gulf coast; now the tornadoes of Kansas. The weather shapes us and shapes our homescapes, whether we want to admit it or not.

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