I was shocked at the scene that was before me.
Moments earlier, my own family and I were huddled together in the pantry of our home as the tornado warnings echoed through our house. With the warning over, we made our way out to do our job as reporters. Now, I was standing in front of a property that was once filled with lush trees and a number of homes. But now it was a barren field with debris and rubble serving as the only memory of what was once before.
Walking through the downed trees and pieces of metal and wood, the Poore Road area was the first place my husband Jason and I stopped to record the damage from Sunday’s tornado that left a path of destruction in Yazoo along its path.
After speaking with a few people we knew who lived in the area and taking a few photographs, Jason made his way down Witherspoon Road where he exchanged his camera for a chainsaw and began helping volunteers who were already cutting their way through the shadows of the canopy of collapsed trees.
Stopping for a moment to pray to God that no one would be seriously hurt in the aftermath of this terrible storm, I rubbed the sweat off my forehead. The birds were slowly beginning to sing their summer songs, and the sun was returning to its steamy blaze above me. And as I looked up, beyond the skeletons of trees and the almost ballet of swaying downed power lines, a rainbow slowly began to appear in the sky.
And it seemed as if for a moment, the tears stopped and the attempt to pick up pieces halted. Everyone took notice of the rainbow and paused. It was as if the Lord was looking down on everyone at that very moment. That same rainbow began to appear on social media pages from all over Yazoo County.
Meanwhile, down the road, Jason continued to help out with removing trees. He stopped every now and then to take a photograph. As he climbed through the tops of several fallen trees, he noticed a wooden cross that was still standing.
Yet again, it seemed as if it was a quiet reminder that God was there.
And I believe God was in Yazoo County. It was heartbreaking to see all the damage that occurred to so many homes and properties. But no one was killed during the fierce storm system that seemed to take the same path as the 2010 tornado. Some homes were destroyed. Some memories were washed away with the fleeting rain. And a few scrapes and bruises were felt on the skins and hearts of those affected.
But their spirits were not broken. And perhaps their faith was restored.
Those few small signs could not have been just coincidences. And maybe, just perhaps, those signs had a purpose other than relief. I like to think those signs played into a bigger picture; a picture I saw unfold before my very eyes.
The rainbow was still very visible in the sky when people began to appear out of nowhere. Volunteers, neighbors, family and friends started to show up in areas left in ruins with heavy equipment, food, water and prayer. People who were left with nothing soon had a cool drink and a warm spirit beside them with comfort and prayers of others. Roads left in darkness from fallen trees soon began to pierce with light as the sun jolted through the holes being created by people with chainsaws. Blocked paths and roads were soon open as massive, heavy equipment pushed away the devastation and debris.
Yazoo came together once again and helped each other in another disaster.
And as the rainbow began to slowly disappear in the sky above neighbors helping neighbors, strangers helping strangers…the greatest sign God could have left upon the land was there. It was the love of one another felt with no one expecting anything in return.
The tornado left rubble in its path, but there was also plenty of faith and hope left behind – and more love than you can imagine.