Just finished assessing my trees after the tornadoes in the Austin, TX area last night. The supercenter all over the news is the one near our house. We were at that Home Depot just a couple hours before the tornadoes came. My daughter needed paint sealant and I needed to mail a package.
My trees are old-growth, 2-3+ stories tall. One of the live oak clusters is suspected to be 2-300 years old, and our house was designed around it. There are 20+ trees on our city lot. One of the features that drew John and me to this place. This neighborhood was built around the trees in the 70s–they didn’t clear-cut them.
One of my cedar elms near the street has had a broken branch caught in its top since the polar vortex storms last year. I haven’t tried to get it down yet. Well, it’s gone now. And the top was snapped off another tree.
In the meantime, absolutely NO debris on our streets within a couple of blocks of our house. No twigs, no gravel–nothing. The roads look vacuumed and washed.
I saw the wind change in the rain yesterday–when it took on a pulse in its blustering. The rain and wind were so hard that they created a sheet that looked like a wall. I’m used to that. Spring storms here are like that. And when the wind is really blowing, the rain turns sideways. We see that sort of thing when the hurricanes come inland through our area–sideways rain. Not really a surprising thing.
But then it turned different. The rain started pulsing as it rained sideways. It looked like morse code pulsing in the sideways blowing rain. Like smoke signals in a drumbeat that you could see in the sideways rain–as if you could see the sound.
But it stopped about as quickly as it started.
I also found bits of insulation in the backyard. I thought it was feathers floating out of the trees, but it wasn’t. Looking up into my trees, there may be some debris caught in them.
After my experiences surviving tornadoes in OK and TX, I have sober respect for them. I’m also familiar with many other stories through the Red Cross, back when mom provided disaster relief training in OK and as her classroom assistant, I’d watched every training film available.
Our house was damaged but passed over by a tornado when I was 7 years old. An event called “Terrible Tuesday.” Our house stood while our neighbors’ on every side weren’t as lucky.
I’ve never forgotten what that was like, the damage, or how long it took our family to recover.
I think a tornado passed over our house yesterday. And I’m so grateful.