And an opportunity to help! Read on!
New telephone poles are stark against the nothingness of the worst-hit streets.
On nearly every other block it seems, roads are closed for massive debris removal.
But some of the most massive of debris removal projects -- schools, the hospital, office buildings -- are still in waiting.
Still, the cleared spaces are immense. This corner used to be an assortment of apartments, offices, and homes. Now they're mostly dusty lots.
Pride of citizenship and survival is evident everywhere; this building is destroyed but well-decorated. (One day after this photo was taken, the whole thing was bulldozed; the forward motion of cleanup is unstoppable.)
Down the street, on a building that is safe from bulldozing, more art has erupted.
And it is beautiful.
Also beautiful are the creations that have been born from the trunks of ruined trees. These used to line the lawn of the high school for the past...how many years?...80? I don't know; they were old and regal, though. Now they're proof of a city's spirit. Sculptural gifts.
(Want to help with other gifts? Joplin schools are in desperate need of school supplies for destroyed classrooms and libraries; one way to help is by going to Funds4Books.org and donating to Joplin's library-replenishing fund. I hope to have more information soon about an Adopt-a-Classroom program going on now. Because students will be back to school in one month...with very little in the way of classroom materials in many cases.)
The trees that have sprouted tufts of foliage, I'm told, will not, after all, survive. But they seem so plucky and resilient in the meantime.
The home with the comfortably arranged furniture has now also been decorated with signatures and notes of hope from volunteers and residents.
I'm glad it hasn't been torn down yet, though I wonder how long it will stand. The city is deliberate in its hope to keep moving forward, and quickly.
Speaking of volunteers, and speaking of quickly, this home was fixed and remodeled (and furnished) for a single father and his children by a group called Operation Blessing. Work was completed in only 10 days.
And at the top of a gorgeous, though now bare hill, a stately, tortured tree stands next to a raised American flag. And for all the clout of the flag, I believe the proud tree holds its own against the stars and stripes.
I feel like I'm trying to hold back and not constantly talk about the tornado and its effects, both because I want to focus on other things sometimes and because I don't want to inundate or overwhelm you. But...is there anything specific you've been wondering or thinking about the tornado or the city? Any information I might be able to provide? More donation opportunities? I'm at your disposal :)