Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Temper Tantrum in the Forest

This post almost didn't make it today. About three o'clock a gust of wind came up and, at first, I thought the damage would be limited to the rat-a-tat-tat of acorns pelting the roof from the oak tree next to my study. A few seconds later I heard a huge crash and the lights went out. From the photo you might be able to see what looks like a shadow crossing the lane but, in fact, it's a huge Eastern White Pine that has probably been contemplating its departure from this life for years. It just hasn't had sufficient motivation to do anything about it until now. The power lines were like innocent bystanders, caught up in circumstances beyond their control.

I'm not a meteorologist by anyone's standards, but from the vigorous waving of the trees near the house, I'm thinking I was visited by a passing microburst. Microbursts are downward motions of air that spread out once they reach ground level. Lasting only a few seconds, they are said to be able to bring down large trees. Uh, you think?

Now the power is back on, the dog and cat are both exhausted from all the excitement, and I've got a new source of firewood to cut and split. The tree itself is far too massive for my chain saw, but there are plenty of smaller limbs that it can manage. The stump has actually been rotting a long time and sooner or later this was bound to happen. As it is, I'm just grateful it's not the middle of winter.

So, while Central Maine Power was busy with the tree, my dog and I walked the hayfield, grateful once more to live in the country. You can't beat it, even when the weather does the unexpected. Yesterday, Mother Nature was as sweet as the apples I picked from the tree. Today, she had a temper tantrum.

(Photo by the author)
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