All prepared for the storm. It’s not hard, really, when you live on top of a hill, miles from rivers and angry ocean waves. A few flashlights, batteries, candles, canned chili, lots of good books. Everything safely brought inside–the lawn chairs, the porch plants, the garden tools, the cat. No problem. We’re ready.
You really get to know trees, when you greet them in your yard every morning for thirty years. The pear twins that hold the hammock. The basswood at the foot of the driveway, with the big red oak just across. The group of locusts on the lawn. The spruces lined up behind the chicken coop. They’ve stood quiet the last few cloudy days, motionless. This morning they seem nervous. The branches are tossing just a little.
The news is spreading from tree to tree. Wind coming. Hold on.
Rooted to the soil. No way to run. They just have to ride out the storm as best they can.
Trees have been weathering hurricanes for millennia, surely. To take the long ecological view, it’s not a bad thing when a tree falls in the forest. It creates an opening, a window, for sunlight to pour through. Sun creates diversity. Different types of plants can suddenly survive, that couldn’t in the dark under the canopy—plants that have high wildlife value, like wildflowers and berry bushes.
Some trees are more elastic than others. Willows have fragile branches that often break, but in nature they’re supposed to. When a willow branch snaps off and lands in the river, it drifts downstream and the twigs take root and grow new willows.
Ah, but a backyard is not a forest. It’s obviously a bit harder to take the long ecological view if a tree branch crashes down on the roof of my car. Whoever planted these trees, so many years ago, wasn’t thinking hurricane. Who does, on a nice sunny day?
Nothing to do now but wait and see.
Hold on, guys.