Saturday, October 22, 2016

Winds of Change

Remember that big windstorm I mentioned a few posts back?  It's been haunting me.

Maybe because I'm extra touchy feely these days, what with Will leaving and all, but I see life lessons all around me now. I'm full of gooey sentiment. I could be a Hallmark card.  It's kind of gross really. But still, that windstorm taught me some stuff.

We were lucky that the wind did no damage to our house, but just a few blocks up the street, several homes lost huge old trees.  I would guess there were somewhere between 12 and 20 huge old pines that were uprooted in that storm.  Trees that were probably 30 feet tall and 40 years old were completely taken out, lying on their sides with their roots in the air.  A few other big trees got hit hard too, but mostly it was the pines.  They fell on roofs and smashed them in. They fell across the street and shut down roads for hours and hours that day. For several weekends afterward, cleaning crews were working non stop with chainsaws to get those trees cut up and moved out. The first few days after it happened, the road looked so bare. The homes and yards that lost trees looked lost and naked. There are still huge stumps in places that mark where the damage was. When  you drive down that road, you will still see folks out there working, digging up stumps.   There is one house in particular that lost three trees right along their property line that abuts the road. Now there are just three stumps there, and the house and yard sit there exposed to all the traffic, noise and lights.

The funny thing is that as a casual passer by, it only took a couple days for me to get used to the trees being gone. The first day or two, everything looked so different. People were out en masse, cleaning and clearing, helping each other, directing traffic around the trucks and equipment they were using. But within a few days, most everything just seemed normal again. If you looked close, you would notice the stumps, and there are still a few roofs that are not repaired yet, but just driving down the road, you probably wouldn't notice anything different.

But isn't that crazy? Those huge trees were there for years and years and years. It is easy to see where they used to be. They were big and beautiful and lined the road and gave shade and coverage to traffic and homes alike, and yet after a few days, it's hard to remember what it was like when they were there.

But that's only for the casual passerby. I know the people who live there, the ones who maybe planted those trees, and lived with them and took care of them, miss them a whole bunch more than those of us who just drive by on occasion. I bet every time they look out their window, or every time the sun shines into their living room in a new way, they miss those trees.  There are still a lot of old pine trees lining that road, and who know why one tree survived the storm and one didn't. One day they were there and the next day they weren't and there is nothing anybody could have done about it.

Isn't that just how life is though? You are just going about your regular life, and everything is good, and then all of a sudden, without warning, it changes. Somebody dies, or you lose your job, or your health, or you have to move. At first everybody is there to help, but then, eventually, they go back to their regular, unchanged life and you have to get on with yours by yourself. And you have to put it back together. And maybe you plant new trees, but they will never be the same, or maybe you just live with things the way they are. Life moves along, and other people forget, but you don't. Even though things can be good again, you won't ever forget what used to be.

Nothing lasts forever. Even big old trees that should have outlived all of us. The wind comes up  and changes everything. And then, we adapt to what is left after the storm.

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