Before Hurricane Irene, my husband and I hurriedly put away the deck and patio furniture, decorative garden hanging ornaments and wind chimes, planters, fountains, and yard art. The prediction was for 80 to 100 mph winds that could lift and hurl almost anything we had out in the yard. Afterwards, we waited. Saturday morning sprinkles and breezes soon turned into driving rain and powerful winds that increased in intensity as the day wore on.
The hummingbirds were feeding from the feeders and displayed more aggressive territorial behavior than usual. Perhaps they sensed that food sources soon may be scarce. When the winds got so high that this feeder rocked back and forth, I was forced to take it down.
However, I left the other feeder up because it was located in a somewhat protected area. This particular male remained at the feeder and protected it tirelessly the entire day--even through the driving rain.
There were times when the wind gusts were so high he would fly to a nearby maple tree and clutch a twig as the wind whipped him and the twig up and down and all around. (He is close to the center of the photo.)
After all the worrying and hoping for the best, we really did sustain very little damage. A few tree branches broke or are torn and hang drooping by the trunks. Some young trees in our wooded area are leaning, having been partially uprooted. A few of the larger perennials are damaged but not demolished.
Our two Autumn Olive trees were thrust to the ground by the high winds.
These trees provided a natural screen between the yard and our patio and were much beloved by the birds. Wrens, robins, and cardinals perched on the limbs and sang morning tunes. In autumn, they ate the sweet red berries--if the squirrels did not get them first.
I am somewhat sad that we lost these trees. They were some of my favorite trees in the yard. Besides attracting wildlife, they had a unique form and structure. And I am wondering if it was the dense foliage that became caught by the wind and then pulled down to the ground. Luckily, I have some seedlings in a pot that I may plant elsewhere. Here, I am thinking of adding one or two Japanese maples. When change is forced upon us, it is an opportunity for a new direction.
Elsewhere in the neighborhood, there were huge trees that were uprooted.
A gust of wind must have come through here and hit several trees at once.
When I walked through, I discovered that these fallen and arched trunks had created a window.
I looked through this nature-made window and saw the glimmer of the morning sun.
And somehow I was compelled to make a silent wish.................for a calm and peaceful autumn.
*William R. Alger©Michelle A. Potter