It seems odd to be suggesting this as many of our neighbors are still struggling without electricity and looking ahead to months of cleanup and repair after powerful storms ripped across East Texas.
But as we viewed last week’s incredible destruction — massive pines splintered like toothpicks, roofs ripped open by wind or smashed under falling trees, power lines ripped off poles — we cannot avoid this thought: How could such widespread destruction hit without warning and still no one be killed, or even seriously injured?
Some have called it luck. We believe it is a blessing.
That feeling of being blessed even in the midst of the damage grows stronger when we consider that last Wednesday’s storms were not this season’s first or even second outbreak of severe weather and that so far, none of it has led to serious injury or death.
Visits to the hardest-hit areas after last week’s storms, or a look at this newspaper’s coverage of the damage, make clear how blessed we should feel.
Uprooted trees fell onto many homes, yes. But we also saw many that fell relatively harmlessly across streets and yards — and even landed neatly between homes or other structures. Power poles were shoved over and lines pulled down, some even onto homes. But they harmed no one.
We have heard from victims in some of the hardest-hit areas that, if not for a coincidence of timing, they would have been in danger’s path. Somehow, they were not.
Consider this, too. While straight-line winds of hurricane force were blamed for the damage in Longview, the same weather system spawned 10 twisters in East Texas and Louisiana. That included one that touched down north of Marshall in Harrison County. Even across all that territory, no one was seriously hurt.
So, yes, despite the devastation and disruption all around us, we are feeling well and truly blessed.
Now, another sort of blessing is being seen. It is one we have received many times but never fails to amaze us: It is the giving nature of East Texans who always turn out to help those in need.
Of course folks elsewhere come together during times of disaster, but we have learned that East Texas is particularly attentive. Nothing matters beyond serving the need; not race, creed, religion or ethnicity. All that matters is that people are in need and help is to be given.
Yes, some of those who come to the rescue do so as part of their jobs with utility companies or municipalities, but that doesn’t make what they do any less special. Others simply show up with chainsaws, hammers, rakes, tractors and other implements. They will help take care of the many smaller projects that must be done and do them at no charge.
If your job is big enough to require professional crews, we advise patience. Just like thousands of us have waited for power to be restored, you may now have to wait for an insurance adjuster or contractor to get to your job.
As you wait, we suggest you enjoy this week’s forecast sunny weather and reflect on the other blessings all around us.