Eye Spy A Storm
Several gigantic locusts stood for more than a century on our upstate New York homestead. These locust trees, members of the pea family, produced large white pea-like flowers with long pod-like flanges that bloomed without fail every late June. While locust trees grow shallow networks of tangled, gnarled roots, their foliage spreads wide and green.
On an early July weekend after days of heavy rains, the water-logged land that had anchored the trees in their place, gave way under blinding rain and a wind shear that came in from the north. The great storm battered the trees in minutes toppling thirty-seven by ripping the roots from the earth with such force that the uprooted balls stood vertically taller than the height of a human being. The tree trunks fell like pickup sticks against other spruce and pine trees.
While we spent months repurposing the tons of usable wood from the tree trunks, it took much longer to tend and heal the gouged craters of the earth. What was impossible to find use for were the root systems. Too heavy to transport across town to a recycling center, they were impossible to cut apart. With firm convictions of sustainability, we had a local farmer drag the roots systems up into our hillside fields above our pond to create a haven for wildlife, to provide a platform for seeds, mushrooms, and other plant life to use as grounds for fertilizer as it decomposed over time.
The surreal site, the boggy smell, and the heavily sopped landscape was magical in many ways. For while we as humans were burdened with clean up, the birds, squirrels, and other animals seemed to adapt much faster.