Midwest America is viewed by many as pretty boring territory. Flyover country. Farmland. Flat as a pancake, without soaring mountains, beautiful beaches, or other natural scenic wonders.
But boy! Reading this morning about a killer storm like Hurricane Irma, which has left the Caribbean battered and Floridians panicked as it bears down on places like Naples and Tampa, from the quiet comfort of my kitchen here in Columbus, makes me reflect on what we don’t get here in the Midwest — like hurricanes. Or tsunamis. Or deadly earthquakes that stretch the Richter scale. Or raging wildfires sweeping across dried-out hillsides, avalanches, and colossal mudslides. Here in America’s heartland we get a bad thunderstorm now and then, a river might flood here and there, and tornadoes are always a risk, but when it comes to bad weather and natural disasters that’s about it. We’re shielded from the worst by hundreds of miles of non-coastal buffer zone and natural topography.
It all depends on how you look at the risk-reward calculus, I suppose. We might not get the stirring vistas — unless, like me, you think that well-tended rolling farms and barns have their own special appeal — but the angry weather and natural disasters that we don’t get here are definitely a positive when the killer storms come calling.
Our thoughts are with the folks down in Florida and the south, many of whom are transplanted Midwesterners, as they ride out the storm. Here’s hoping that everyone was able to get out of harm’s way.