When I was four years old a tornado tore its way through central Massachusetts uprooting trees and scouring whole neighborhoods down to their foundations. It was 1953 and I was too young to appreciate the danger that had passed within a few hundred yards of our house. I do remember the Robert Spellman painting of a tin cup with waterdowned trees and that there was no electricity. My father was driving home from work when the tornado came through; he and his fellow riders were quickly stopped by fallen trees and had to make their way on foot with an increasing sense of alarm at the destruction. They met a man who told them that all the houses in our neighborhood were gone and the all the people were dead. This was not helpful to my father who specialized in worst case scenario mental productions. It's easy for me to imagine his relief in finding that we were all okay and our house was not damaged. My uncle Walter came over with a grill and charcoal so we could cook. I had never seen charcoal briquets before and I thought we were going to eat them. Even though I have no conscious memory of the tornado itself, it must have planted some seed of thrilling dread into the background of my mind. I still have dreams of funnel clouds bearing down. I'm not sure if I know why I am painting tornados right now. Maybe it's the deeply troubling divisions in the U.S. right now and how they are fanned by unseen and powerful people whose intentions are not directed at benefitting others.