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COLUMN: Strange fascinations with wicked weather

Last week I had an interesting conversation with Braydon Moriseau of Prairie Storm Chasers.
Image of the Didsbury tornado captured last year.

Last week I had an interesting conversation with Braydon Moriseau of Prairie Storm Chasers. 

We talked about his experiences following storms each year across the Canadian prairies all the way down to as far south as Corpus Christi, Texas.

He talked about how it was not merely a fool-hardy, adrenaline induced effort, but rather a spiritual experience for him. He talked about how chasing tornados and other wicked weather helped him feel deeply connected to nature and reminded him always to be in the moment. Each tornado is unique, he said, and when it all comes together it is a “fluid” experience that happens only once, and a moment he will never experience again.

To him, tornados are not something to be feared outright and terror inducing, but rather something which should be considered with a “healthy fear,” but also understood as a natural force which is part of our reality here on the prairies. Something which needs to be understood and accepted for what it is.

I admit it is difficult for me to fully embrace this spiritual perspective when it comes to tornadoes, which is very likely due to my own childhood experience of a terrifying tornado that hit our farm southwest Saskatchewan. I remember clearly hiding under a kitchen table with my brothers as we could not get down in the basement due to the massive suction effect of the storm.

Every window on the west side and north side of our house was destroyed by incoming baseball-sized hail.

I remember my dad and uncle crying as they held pillows against the nearest windows so that deadly hail could not get in to strike us. 

It was only an EF-2, and we only caught the edge of it, but it scarred fear into my psyche for the rest of my life.

However, I must admit there have been times when I have sat out in my car to watch the incoming shelf clouds pulsating in greens and blues, watched the lightning flash down on the distant hill side, and been totally transfixed and awed by the sight. 

Maybe I understand Braydon a little bit after all.


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