End of Year Reflection
Earlier this year, we moved to a very quiet, peaceful, lake community. Every day, I walk down to the lake, place my chair at the shoreline, still my mind with nature’s hush, or take in the sites – like listening to the gentle ripples of the waves, or watching the geese take off and land with honks of enthusiasm. But this time, reflection fills my mind with a review of the year’s events - what was done, what was not done, what happened, and what we hope for the new year.
For what was done, moving closer to my family was the best decision made this year. Family is now just a short car ride away.
For what was not done, well, the list just keeps on growing. The best thing to do is to keep on chipping away and hope for the best. The biggest reflection revolved around what happened just a few short weeks after we moved into our new home.
The day ended just like any other – checking last incoming emails, playing with my dog, and finalizing next day plans. I was probably not asleep for more than a few minutes, when I was awakened by my dog pacing on the bed. I immediately picked him up and ran into the living room where my husband was getting up from his chair. The wind started to roar, shaking the house like a freight train passing by. Terror seized us in our tracks as the 1st tree came crashing down obstructing our driveway. If it fell the opposite direction, it would have split our home in half and killed us upon impact. The power went out as we ran downstairs to take cover, and another massive tree fell within inches of the back of our home. Lightning lit up the sky striking fear in our hearts as we saw the shadows of damage through the bay window and patio door. Within just a few seconds, which seemed like an eternity, a derecho had struck our community and left an unimaginable path of destruction through its final exit in the night. Amidst the temporary setting of emergency lighting and ongoing affirmations of ‘’at least we are all ok’’, it was not until the next day that we could assess the extent of the derecho’s damage.
We arose early to the sounds of chainsaws, bucket/utility trucks surveying and the start of a massive cleanup which temporarily replaced the views of our forest. Memories of walking through our forest and seeing baby fawns nestled in the lush, dense grounds were replaced with the aftermath of nature’s unpredictable fury. Beautiful 8-story pines were mercilessly snapped in half and hurled across the forest landing on roof tops, wedging between trees upon impact, even landing like spears into the ground. Majestic oak, ash, and elm trees were disfigured as the winds bent them in half, with the tops almost touching the ground. Other trees were partially or fully uprooted and left lying down across vast acreage, or crisscrossed and piled on top of one another. We were grateful for no lives lost, but, several of our neighbors sustained structural damage. Over 1/3 of the forest in our community and on our property, was destroyed. Such a heart-wrenching site to behold every single day.
What we hope for the New Year is a realization that every single moment of life is precious and can change without notice. Life does go on despite unforeseen events, and we need to celebrate ongoing joys and successes with hope and gratitude as they come to us. We continue to see ongoing repairs of homes, structures, and cleanup of the forest daily. With much joy, we celebrate the growth and development of the fawns that lived through the storm, particularly the twins who continue to follow and learn with their mother. Trees continue to grow and many trees were replanted in hopes of replacing what has been lost. And, although it may seem too cliché, one cannot help but wonder, that ‘’things always happen for a reason,’’ In the words of my wonderful husband who always looks at the bright side of things: ‘’we are all ok and we were given the gift of warmth with all this wood.’’ With that said, we purchased a wood-burning stove and my husband continues to harvest the felled trees and stack up the wood to keep us warm for many years to come.
Although events in our lives may not be what we hoped for, hope and gratitude are our constant companions. May peace, love and health fill your New Year and beyond, as you celebrate life, joys, and successes.