They were still half a mile out when scraps of their shredded life began to appear on the wind-torn landscape.
A sock grabbed up by a rolling tumbleweed.
A cast iron skillet wedged in the crotch of an uprooted fallen oak.
Charlie’s wide-brim work hat — the one he used for tending the crops — pierced by a splintered cedar plank, pinned to the ground.
And there at the rocky foundation of the barn, a single leaf of Betty’s sheet music fluttered in the light spring breeze, belying the violence not long passed, and likely lying in wait just ahead.
Charlie trotted toward the artifact and snatched it in his thick fingers just as it took flight. He handed the rain-smeared page to his wife as they continued toward the rubble of their cabin.
“It’s your favorite!” he said, face as bright as he could manage.
She eyed the music — “Silver Threads Among the Gold”. It was her favorite, but none of that mattered now. They had barely escaped the twister with their lives, and they’d be lucky to survive the summer with their farm demolished.
Betty dropped the music to the ground. “That was a long time ago.”
“It’s only been a week, Betty. You’ll be playing again in no time,” Charlie said. He plucked the sheet out of the dust.
They were just feet from their home now, the place where they had started their family, built their dreams. It was a pile of kindling.
“There’s nothing left, Charlie.”
He shook his head. “You just have to look a little harder.” He was standing next to a head-high pile of debris, and as he brushed aside the splinters and dust, familiar clanging filled the air.
“Grandma’s piano!” Betty exclaimed.
Charlie smiled and turned toward the work of picking up their pieces, accompanied all the while by the broken and warped strands of silver threads lilting through the warming spring air.