Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Weathering a Storm

    A storm has blown through  here that has lasted several days. High winds and heavy rain. My little house sits on the edge of farmland, so the southern wind has a nice, straight shot at my home. Yesterday the wind did not let up. It would hit my house with an impact that could be felt through the structure, and my house is built like a bunker. I baked cookies, burned candles, made smudge sticks from recently harvested greenery. I did a morning workout, and an evening workout. I made delicious yam and black bean chili. I was hunkered in, and enjoying the feeling of security despite the storm that raged outside
    Last night, about 8:30, I had just finished my evening core workout when I heard a loud thump. It was not the first of the evening. I had already been outside with a flashlight several times, checking my magnificent, mature trees after hearing mysterious sounds. This was different. Loud. Palpable. Visceral. It set the dogs to barking. I went out and found the tall, dead tree on the southern edge of my property had come down. It was a snag that I had kept as a wildlife tree. It was home to nesting birds from spring through summer. Now it was down in a heap, with parts of it lying on the roof of the tiny house that is inhabiting a small piece of my driveway. Damn. I checked the wee house, inside and out. It seemed relatively unscathed. It didn't hurt that the tree was so rotten inside that it was like getting hit with a giant, wet sponge.
    This morning, first thing... okay, first thing after a big cup of coffee, I went out to remedy the situation. Happily, the wind had died down, it hadn't rained during the night, and it was relatively warm. Perfect working weather. I was surprised at the amount of debris, and the lack of real damage. My little car took a hit on the nose, right where the hood latch is. I don't know if I will be able to open my hood, but that is a problem for another time. The wee house did get a bit bruised, but I managed to tidy up and fix the basics. There will be more to be done in the next few days, but I need to pick up a few supplies first.
    As I looked at the fallen tree, sad at the loss, I wondered how I was going to manage to cut it up and haul it away. Then it hit me - why not leave it where it is? My hugelkultur (mound garden) is formed over a large piece of this very same tree. A twenty foot log that was too big to move, and too rotten to use for firewood. Looking at the massive trunk, knowing it would take a Herculean effort to clean it up, I decided it will be another mound garden. A beautiful berm that will delineate the eastern edge of my garden. It is nearly perfectly placed.  I think I may plant it with perennial flowers, succulents, and magical herbs. It will be as much a decorative garden as a practical one. I am already envisioning ferns and mosses on the back side, that will get little sun. The front side will be the herbs, succulents, and sun loving flowers that will get a nice blast of sun from mid-day til sunset.
     It is not the storms of our lives that define us. It is how we weather them, and how we decide to deal with the wreckage and detritus washed up on our shore. We cannot control the elements, we cannot control chaos that sometimes swirls around us, but we can control how we choose to handle it all. We can control ourselves.

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