WEEKENDER Column: They come in trees.
Into every crevice, every weak spot, the inquisitive snout went. Seeking any foothold it roamed and moaned its unstoppable power around. Catching a bit of tin here, a full grown, decades old tree there, it nibbled, wrestled, shoved and ultimately triumphed. Not humble in victory it shrieked in delight with the voice of thousand of years of domination over the land and sea. Don’t tell me it doesn’t know. It knows. It’s as alive as we are and just waits.
People say it sounds like a freight train. That’s pale. Add together a freight train, hundreds of jet engines spooling up to full power, the closest, most hair-raising crack of thunder and every Fourth of July finale you have ever witnessed. Multiply that by fear. You have only an inkling of the sound.
Helpless, held in its thrall, you see trees bend more than they should, leaves carpet the ground inches thick, loosened limbs fly like projectiles into the ground. The rain is not falling, it is being fired at you like stinging bullets, non-stop.
And the aftermath? We were lucky in the sense that we lived. We had no livestock to be grabbed and flung, no automobiles to replace. We came through better than some and worse than others. The roof is the blue of plastic tarp. The apple and pear trees, older than me by far, are buffets for the deer who can reach the succulent fruit on the very tippy top of the 100 footer without straining their necks. Enjoy, brother and sister for it will be a long time if ever that fruit comes from our backyard. The power back on we could see to throw out spoiled TV dinners and suspicious smelling milk.
They say it comes in threes. If so, this track goes, earthquake, Irene and Lee. The earthquake rocked me in my easy chair. We felt the wrath of Irene. We shudder to think of the future of those who get to speak the words, inundated by Lee.
It’s hard to process right now. We reel from circumstance to catastrophe and spend much of it too numbed to take it all in. We move and walk and think like zombies, overstressed, over informed, overwhelmed. Then in the midst of a thought, “let’s pick that up at K-Mart”, or, “want to go to the Garden Drive-in flea market?”, reality sets in again.
Dan Rather said once, “Courage.” It’s as good a message as any.