OK, so we didn’t actually get a big storm in Ottawa on Thursday, although there was some loose talk of same.
The family flutter started with that little red-and-white cloud icon.
BEST CHANCE FOR ROTATING STORMS
In this context “best” seems like an odd choice, but set that aside. The family riffers were off, by which I mean launched. One sibling helpfully offered advice from CBC News for those caught outdoors in a tornado:
Do not seek the cover of trees, which may fall down.
Good advice. I’d noticed the same thing — Trees may fall down — although happily not in the actual moments of our last big storm (which apparently doesn’t *mean* “last”) in May. These shots were taken within a block of our house. There’s a lot to be said for the great indoors.
Anyway, the sibling also noted that this advice — Do not seek the cover of trees — sounded Desiderata-ish, at least for those of sufficient age. Having that sufficiency of age, I got to thinking. What might its writer have done with tornado advice?
Go carefully amidst the falling trees
and remember what safety there may be
in the basement.
Fair enough. But wait, there’s more.
Avoid loud and dangerous storms:
they are vexatious to the body.
Exercise caution in your walks,
for the world is full of falling trees.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here,
but they have a right to fall on you.
The Government of Canada website also offers good advice.
In the event of a tornado, or if a tornado warning is issued for your area, it is recommended you take the following actions: Go indoors to a room on the lowest floor, away from outside walls and windows, such as a basement, bathroom, stairwell or interior closet. Leave behind mobile homes, vehicles, tents, trailers and other temporary or free-standing shelter and move to a strong building if you can. As a last resort, lie in a low spot and protect your head from flying debris.
Good advice, albeit in that long-winded style favoured by bureaucracies worldwide, whose principle seems to be: Leave no example/possibility uncited. The assumption seems to be that people aren’t smart enough to track that if a mobile home isn’t safe, neither is a tent. It makes you wonder why they didn’t cite all tent types — Well, I can see that a pup tent might not offer safe haven from a tornado, but what about this tunnel tent? No? This geodesic one, then? — or why they didn’t warn against lying in low, floodable spots.
Anyway, it’s not the sort of thing you have time to sort through in, you know, a tornado. To be fair, the Government’s website is likely not intended as emergency communication, and the advice à la Desiderata, while more lyrical, likewise lacks some urgency. That got me to thinking about whether other cultural icons might be up to the challenge.
The treess-es are falling:
Save my Precious!
Give us a safe place: I wants it.
Maybe that attention to self-care is how he lived so long. And that got me to thinking about how the similarly long-lived Yoda (he of “Do or do not. There is no try.”) might have worded his typically pithy advice for this situation.
Indoors go, if a tornado you see. Stop not.
If the structure is weak, stay not.
In a low spot lie, if outdoors you must stay.
The cover of trees seek not.
So, choose whatever suits your communication needs and preferences, and your temperament. Me, I’m going with a hybrid.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken trees,
it is still a beautiful world.
Storms matter not.