The Great Storm of ’08

What we first thought to be gunshots continued unabated throughout the day on Sunday. Our home is surrounded by very tall evergreens of every species Before the stormand stately old oaks – and we soon realized that our own private forest was the source of those horrific sounds. Huge branches sounded like wounded elephants as they ripped away from their trunks. As they fell to earth they’d brush past lower branches, finally hitting the ground with the sound of a car crash.

On our own property in southeast Salem [Oregon], two stately old oaks suffered dearly from bearing their burden of ice. Nearly a dozen large branches fell to their premature deaths, meeting their end laying across the sidewalk and intruding dangerously into the street in front of our home. Our home after the ice storm

In spite of the bitter cold, neighbors gathered together or stopped briefly to chat in the middle of the street where they were safely away from the tall trees, constantly being interrupted by the loud cracking sounds of huge limbs falling to their deaths off in the distance.

“Are you alright? Is your home OK? Do you want to borrow my chainsaw?” were phrases mixed within the conversations as everyone reached out to help and console each other. We watched in awe and sadness the virtual destruction of trees long protected by law from the axes and saws of contractors and uncaring homeowners, tall evergreens that were decades older than the eldest among us.

Although historic storms like this can be extremely damaging, creating some danger and inconvenience to many of us, we must understand that what we are watching is all a part of natural processes, somehow fitting into the grand plan for our own survival. We can do nothing but watch and listen in awe to the power of wind and water, realizing how helpless we really are against the unyielding will of Mother Nature.

I guess when it comes to weather, we just have to “go with the flow and enjoy the show.”

This article was first published at on December 23, 2008. As of three days later, the ice and snow remain on the ground and the street is still nearly impassable except by 4-wheelers with chains. So we are hunkered down, keeping warm, and as long as we have electricity, we’ll keep ourselves entertained with DVDs and the Internet. More bad weather approaches, so we will most likely remain home-bound until after the New Year. But that’s OK, we still love our Oregon home.

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