The leading edge of the storm raged violently enough to wake us around 3:30 am. The sky glowed like daybreak and thunder rumbled and crashed continuously. We marveled at the window as the storm grew more powerful. We had no idea that at that moment, our feed store burned. The Southern States Feed Co-Op had been struck by lightning.
We drove by today. The cinder-block exterior appeared deceptively untouched. Apparently, behind the now-boarded up windows, the store and warehouse had been gutted. All we knew was what the marquis told us: Closed Due to Fire.
Nothing more. No further details on the damage, nor reassurance that no-one was hurt. No hint as to a reopening date. No “we have arranged for your feed delivery to be covered.” And what of that feed delivery, which appears faithfully every Tuesday? What of our 29 horses, who line up just as faithfully along the fence at feeding time?
This may seem off topic on a horse training blog. However, horse people know that what happens in training sessions is inseparably entwined wiith the fabric of our daily lives.
Despite the influx of commuting Washingtonians, our area clings to its rural roots. Horse farms, cow farms, crop farms and the local racetrack rely on Southern States to nourish and care for our land, our animals, our businesses and our families. What does this fire mean for the community? The more we think about it, the more we realize the vital importance of that one store. The ripple effect reaches far.
We’ve no doubt that the community will pour its resources into rebuilding the co-op, just as we know the co-op will mobilize quickly to provide for the community. During this time our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the fire, from the owners and employees to farmers finding feed for hungry horses.