Tornadoes may be the most criminal of nature's whims. They dip down from the sky, often in the dark, whipping away man's labors and stealing his dreams like a thief. It's nearly impossible to build structures that are tucked away from tornadoes or that can easily stand up to them.
And, unlike floods and hurricanes, a tornado's damage is heartlessly fickle. The skies can pick and choose victims in erratic, hopscotch ways, often mere feet from each other.
So it is that we in Augusta woke up Thursday morning to learn of the devastation in parts of Georgia and Tennessee -- but mostly Alabama, where long-standing communities were left in splinters within minutes.
It appears to have been a dry-land, spread-out mini-Katrina. It will take days to assess the destruction, and years to pick up the pieces on the ground and in the survivors' hearts. At least 270 have died in six states.
All this, just down the highway.
Those of us spared the wrath of the clouds should count our blessings today, embrace the dullest of routines and celebrate the trivialities we normally think of as problems.
And keep our neighbors in our thoughts and prayers and charitable acts.