Valley of the Shadow

December 11, 2021- The workers were making and packaging candles and their accessories, following protocol for producing one of the season’s most popular gift items. It was the nightshift. 196 miles to the northwest, workers at a night shift in an Amazon distribution center were preparing various parcels for transport on the logistical giant’s fleet of trucks and planes.

It is a given, in most lines of work, that the employee will likely make it home, at the end of a shift. The workers at these two facilities most likely bid their loved ones good night, perhaps tucking their children into bed and kissing their significant others, before heading out.

Perhaps unknown to both crews, two lines of deadly storms, one tracking north east and the other, due east, had the buildings in their sights. In the early morning hours, in the middle of the shifts, tornadoes pummeled the communities of Edwardsville, IL, Bowling Green and Mayfied, KY. At both facilities, it became graveyard shift for one too many.

As is now known, the roof and at least one long wall of the Amazon facility, in Edwardsville, were shorn by one of the deadliest tornadoes ever to strike Illinois. It had already wreaked havoc on communities in southern Missouri. In the more southerly band of storms, another horrific twister slammed into a nursing home, in Monett, AR and leveled the hamlet of Samburg, TN. The tornado was far from spent. Veering north from Samburg, it pummeled Mayfield, the site of the candle factory, dealt glancing blows to Hopkinsville and Cadiz, Ky and bore down on Bowling Green. The death toll from the aggregate of the storms may well exceed 100.

This is not the time of year when people in our nation’s heartland normally live in dread of twisters. Normalcy with respect to climatic events has, however, gone on extended hiatus. There is no time of year when one may let down guard, no time of year when families can bid farewell to their loved ones, expecting a humdrum work shift followed by their safe return.

This will be a strange Christmas, as survivors inch their way forward, through the Valley of the Shadow. Let us fear no evil, and let us stand together. (I may very well make my way to one of the affected areas, as a Red Cross Disaster Relief Team volunteer, after the end of this week of local obligations. It will be a time of muted colours, of quiet thanks to our Creator, whilst appealing to His good graces towards the suffering.)

2 thoughts on “Valley of the Shadow

  1. Yes Gary, the devastation is great and the loss of life horrendous. And you are so right about climate change resulting in weird shifts in the weather patterns. We had such dense fog this last week – that persisted through the whole day. Please stay safe as you travel and volunteer with the Red Cross (that organization does not get the credit it deserves)!

    Liked by 1 person

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