Monday, April 07, 2008

What Grows Up, Must Blow Down

Before the storm.... April, 2004

After the storm finished its destruction in Little Rock on last Thursday, it headed on over to Jackson, Mississippi, where it unleashed five more tornadoes on Friday afternoon. In fifteen minutes, Jackson and its environs endured more damage than Katrina did to it in a day and a half.

I was at school. The sirens had gone off, and the weather radio alerts were advising a severe storm. We had the students hunkered down in the hallway. They weren't frightened until the electricity went down. That hallway gets mighty dark! So we sang our chapel songs and the Matins liturgy. That puts eyes and minds on Jesus and off fear.

I learned later that John was on the back porch having a cigar. Typical. On the way to the hospital to have bypass he had one more cigarette. I do love that man! In his favor, he'd watched the tv channels and they'd been saying the storm was well away from us. Rankin County is very large. When the order to sound the alert comes down, it doesn't matter what corner is being pinpointed, the whole county sounds alarm. The actual tornado might well be several miles away and never come near us.

John said he knew we were in for it when it suddenly began to hail. Then he saw one of our trees begin to lean. He thought, "Awwww, now don't do that." But it did, taking the one beside it with it. We lost two oaks, both 65-70 ft. tall. At least they fell East, not South. Falling South would have been through the middle of the house. Neighbors weren't so fortunate. They had trees severely damage their house.

Wind noise was so strong no sound was heard of falling treed or breaking fence. Immediately after the wind left our place it began to twist. Neighbors across the street received the twister effect. Their trees were broken from the middle, as were trees on the golf course. A large dead tree was stripped of its bark, bit it's still standing. Probably a red oak, not a white. Reds dig deep roots. Whites, like the two of ours that fell, have shallow roots like pines. We have a large red, about 80 ft tall, that didn't even shudder in this wind. Of course, if it had received the twisting wind, it might have been another story.

We now have the start of two fish ponds in the azalea bed. They quickly filled with water, which hasn't yet drained. This is Mississippi, of course! The root balls on these fells are enormous. Some of my azaleas are now growing horizontally. Squirrels are running across their favorite nesting places instead of up them. We don't know if they had any babies up in the branches. There is nothing that can be done about them now.

So now we are looking to replacing the fence and planting some crepe myrtle. Natchez whites. They'll grow the tallest. Large elegant and shapely. The kind that won't fall on a house. Oh, they get blown over, but they don't crush anything.

And by the way, the trees missed the bluebird's house by a few feet. They had just finished laying their first nest of the season, too.


Marie N. said...

I'm so glad your home and school were undamaged. We heard the sirens last week in my dad's community. A glance at the clock (9:50 am) and a glance at the sky (sunny and clear) told me it was a drill. Too bad we were stopped at a red light right under the siren.

Pastor Mark said...

I'm glad I was able to reach you on your cell phone that evening, when you told me of the storm. I'm thankful that you and John are OK.

Dcs. Emily Carder said...

We are expecting a new storm this morning. Skies are dark. I'm sure the students will be apprehensive. The city and surrounding suburbs sure are!

I appreciated your call. I'm sorry I was so sleepy. We were so tired! Thanks for all your concern and prayers. Gratefully none of our congregation suffered major damage. I've lost many azaleas, and expect to lose more because they will now burn in the sun. Such is the way of the winds and the rain, and the effects of original sin on nature. Mea culpa! Of this we repent as well!