Sunday, June 11, 2017

Summer storms, wind storms, thunder storms #phenology

This morning we "dodged a bullet." The line of severe thunderstorms that moved across Minnesota dumped lots of water, scared hell out of us with straight line winds, wall clouds, green skies and a tripped GFI circuit, but otherwise has left us pretty much unscathed. Elsewhere, there have been wide-spread power outages, hail and a few tornadoes reported. Yesterday we didn't fare as well. The hot winds which, if we were in North Africa or Southern Europe, might have qualified as a sirocco, took one of our birches(?) off at the stump and laid it halfway across our road.

the remaining stump after a windfall
the remaining stump after a windfall
Photo by J. Harrington

Roadside ditches and almost any semi-open area around here have an overabundance of poison ivy, so the better solution seemed to be to move the tree in toto, rather than dismember it whilst tromping about and collecting itch oils. The subcompact tractor, in four wheel drive, had the muscle but lacked the mass to haul a moderately-sized, whole tree by its trunk. Fortunately, the garage held a heavyweight four-by that outweighs the tractor by a factor of two or three. The jeep made me proud as we dragged the tree down the side of the road and into a nearby out of the way field that is miraculously ivy free. When we get cooler, drier weather, our "windfall" will be reduced to brush pile sized pieces and thence to ashes. Life is easier when we have the right tools for the jobs we face, especially if we also realize that holes left in our lives by fallen trees can again be filled, even if not perfectly, and even if not blue spruce.

the former resident of the stump
the former resident of the stump
Photo by J. Harrington

On Falling (Blue Spruce)

Dusk fell every night. Things
fall. Why should I
have been surprised.

Before it was possible
to imagine my life
without it, the winds

arrived, shattering air
and pulling the tree
so far back its roots,

ninety years, ripped
and sprung. I think
as it fell it became

unknowable. Every day
of my life now I cannot
understand. The force

of dual winds lifting
ninety years of stillness
as if it were nothing,

as if it hadn’t held every
crow and fog, emptying
night from its branches.

The needles fell. The pinecones
dropped every hour
on my porch, a constant

irritation. It is enough
that we crave objects,
that we are always

looking for a way
out of pain. What is beyond
task and future sits right

before us, endlessly
worthy. I have planted
a linden, with its delicate

clean angles, on a plot
one tenth the size. Some change
is too great.

Somewhere there is a field,
white and quiet, where a tree
like this one stands,

made entirely of
hovering. Nothing will
hold me up like that again.


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