It's been one week since a violent, some say tornado some say microburst, storm ripped through my neighborhood. I'd come home from helping out at the kids' camp and noticed dark clouds and rumbles of thunder moving in. As per my usual, I came inside, got something cold to drink and visited with Avery before heading to shower off the sweat and bug spray from the afternoon. By the time I got out of the shower I could hear lots more thunder and the rain becoming heavy. Back downstairs with the dog, the rain is coming down harder and wind is kicking up. Pretty soon there's ping, ping, pinging on what seemed to be all sides of the house. Huh? Hail. Dime size hail is pouring down and it's DARK outside. Wind is going every which way and my garden is getting pummeled. Two thirds of the sunflowers which stood so tall and stately just a short time before are flat on the ground. The tomato cages are pretty much leaning sideways. The tender leaves of the nasturtiums are completely ripped off their stems. The squash plants are all torn up as well. I was devastated.
Now, let me say that my devastation goes deeper than the physical injury to my garden. I know well that, to me, it seemed like a material manifestation of certain emotional pain I continue to process (which I note is much better than it was, but you know, grief can take a long time to heal). I'm not necessarily proud of how I handle this kind of stuff, but I also know it's better for me to allow it out...crying, sobbing, etc. etc.,...than to pretend everything's okay. So, it took a little time but after an hour or so I was finding my footing again. Since the storm cleared out, really it blew through in under an hour, I decided to get Avery out for a short walk. As I walked down the street, just four houses beyond mine I came up a tree that was probably four feet in diameter and seventy feet tall, completely on its side from one backyard to another! I was stunned as I had no idea that the storm was that strong. Well, to be honest, I was kind of dumbfounded as it was occurring and slightly confused. Continuing the walk, there's another tree completely across a street. Then I found out just two doors up a tree had fallen on a neighbor's car, with her in it (fortunately, maybe even miraculously, she was okay). As the days went by and I drove around the area I saw more and more evidence of the power this weather event unleashed. Somehow, the toppled sunflowers and torn nasturtium leaves of my garden didn't seem so monumental any more. And, all that being said, a week later the garden is recovering in its own fashion.
Needless to say, the power was out for days. Lines were pulled down by falling trees, sometimes taking poles with them. By Friday, three days after the storm, electricity was back to my house. It's weird how I kind of got used to the situation. Of course, I'm fortunate that I had a friend to go visit in the evenings to recharge my phone and get out of the dark for a bit. In addition, our temperatures had not yet spiked to the current upper 90's and ungodly percent humidity. The complete darkness at night was rather nice, except for the incessant drone of generators (which, a neighbor told me, are supposed to be turned off at 11pm...someone apparently didn't get the memo). And today, hallelujah...I have my internet restored. After a week of being in a kind of limbo, I'm ready to feel a sense of normalcy again.
Interestingly, just before the garden destruction occurred, I was reveling in its beauty and lushness! I was considering how this might be one of the best gardens I'd ever grown and made a point of taking lots of pictures the morning of the storm. So...I present to you, my best garden to this date: