One of my fondest memories is one of my daughter occurred in just a few brief seconds a couple of years ago. In 2004 we had a series of three hurricanes pass through Orlando. It was a rare anomaly, as most either veer off before reaching us, or become so weakened that they turn out to be nothing more than a summer thunderstorm. It’s even rarer to get more than one, even of the weakened storms, to pass through Central Florida.
In 2004 though, we had three: Charley, Frances, and Jeanne. All three were solid Category 1 storms packing winds of 74-95 mph (119-153 kph) as they passed over our area. We chose to ride out the storms at home. Most homes in our area sustained little or no damage, owing to good building standards and laws. We had a little water blow in under the door and some in through our roof vents, but nothing that required any repair once the water dried. We also lost power for several days. Living with no air conditioning in the sweltering heat and humidity of a Florida summer is an adventure. Luckily we only had to go about two days without power after each of the three storms.
While all the homes in our area survived, many of the nearby trees were not so lucky. Our house backs up to an easement that is full of trees and various plants and vegetation. It’s an area that will remain undeveloped and is a nice bit of greenery to live near. Many of these behind our house were tall stately pine trees. They are native to the area and can typically withstand a good storm. Three in one year proved to be too much for most of them.
Here is a short video I took during Hurricane Frances which shows one of the trees snapping.
The trees tried their best to remain standing. Some fell, toppling as their roots gave way. Others held strong with their roots firmly planted, before ultimately breaking off mid-way up their trunks. By the time the three storms passed, we had a landscape of broken tree trunks standing as a reminder of the 2004 hurricane season.
A couple years later our daughter was born. She grew, learned to crawl, learned to walk, and learned to talk. When she was around a year and a half, or maybe two, she was talking and walking, gaining proficiency at both with practice.
One day she toddled over to our back window. She was gazing out across the back yard and landscape beyond when she caught my attention.
She stood there saying “oh no, oh no… oh no, oh no.”
She repeated this several times, and I saw that she was looking at the broken trees and was sad for them. My heart ached with the sadness she felt for those broken remnants of trees.
I sat her down and explained that the trees were broken in a storm, and that it’s part of nature for this to happen. I told her this was okay because those broken trees become homes for birds and that they also make room for new trees to grow. She seemed to understand, or at least was reassured by her daddy that everything was okay.
I often think of this early experience as it reminds me of her gentle and peaceful nature. It also reminds me that in today’s fast paced, hectic, and often violent world, peace and innocence still exists. It inspires me to not only look for the good, but to expect it. I should be sad when conflict arises, when things are not peaceful, and when the evening news shares stories of crime, unrest, and revolution. Because even though storms are natural; violence, selfishness, and greed are common place and accepted as normal; and revolution and uprising are necessary for the rights and liberties of mankind – and we all say everything is ok – it’s still sad when a storm breaks a tree.
I wrote the draft for this post on March 10, one day before the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and while broken trees are sad, it can’t compare the sadness caused by this natural disaster. I’d like to help, even if just a little. Through the end of March, I will donate all affiliate income from the sale of eBooks found here: Massive Personal Development eBook List.
Purchase any book on that list, and I’ll donate my entire affiliate commission to Japan relief efforts. Donations will be made through Network for Good, using the Give to All option. This is a good chance for you to buy the eBook you’ve been thinking about and also help our friends and neighbors in this time of need. Please share this with others and help us make a difference.