Riding through Joplin was hard to describe, but it was a mixture of eye opening and haunting. Words, movies, pictures, and statistics simply cannot describe the scale of what happened here... I was shocked. The town goes from looking like a normal southern town with pickups driving around to a former war zone in just a block or so, and the devastation lasts for much farther than the eye can see. Houses are no more, and trees missing all their limbs and holding occasional debris or clothes are reminders of what used to be here. Bulldozers and other equipment and machinery are all over working to rebuild, and even in the months since the tornado they have not been able to make a dent in making the place look like an area that can be inhabited. Bricks, shoes, and torn apart cars still line the roads, and the entirety of the horizon can be seen looking like a desert landscape, something that isn't a normal feature of the city. In one park, all the trees as well as the many street lamps that used to light up the park were cleaved off, leaving an especially desolate scene. Finally, the new hospital, completely gutted by the forces of the winds, was especially heart-wrenching. But the people here are amazing, and determination and a love of life fills the air. People are still inhabiting houses that were severly struck, and living happily with what they have - soaking in life in a way many of us rarely are able to. American flags stick out of sheared off tree stumps, and spraypaint on dismantled houses reads "God Bless Joplin - Down, NOT OUT".
marshall moose moore is a meandering biogeochemist (a type of environmental scientist who studies elemental cycles) who is always on the lookout for good stories. The blog is a place to tell some of those fun stories. Check out The Course or The Brave Monkeys Speak Podcast for lessons and actionable goals to apply to YOUR life.
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