The walls of my 100-year-old house shuddered. That got me out of my chair in a heartbeat. Freight train gusts of wind were barreling up the hilltop on which I live. Branches flew from trees. Untethered items in neighbors' yards tumbled and clattered across lawns. Windows rattled. The velocity of the wind forced its way through the ancient window jambs, its cold breath on my face as I stared into the black of night.
Nothing good’s going to come of this, I said to self.
Twenty minutes later, a muffled clump from front of the house. The ancient 60-foot fir tree that’s stood guard for the house since the early 20th century had been uprooted and toppled in a gust that teased 60 mph. The sprawling tree caught the wires of the utility pole across the street and pulled it down in a WWF smackdown. Thick black cables twisted around the tree’s limbs. The Christmassy smell of fresh fir belied the scene of destruction in the front yard.6:30 AM Friday - remains of the fir tree are bulldozed off the street. New utility pole had been replaced before dawn.
The blowy bullies from the northeast wracked the hill for three more hours. I stood transfixed at the windows watching stately cedar and fir trees genuflect to the wind. I prayed and held my breath. They weigh tons. They were under siege.Those trees, which have been nothing if not kind purveyors of shade to neighborhood children and protective homes for all manner of wildlife, including squirrels, blue jays and other anti social types of winged and bushy tailed vertebrates, were fighting for their lives.
By midnight, the blasts relented. No more downed trees. My psyche, however, still trembled. I hadn’t felt safe within the boundaries of my own four walls, my own home. I can relate to farmers in Kansas and residents of the gulf coast who’ve felt utterly helpless in the face of the elements.
It’s said that a man’s home is his castle. Nothing is said that it’s indestructible.