Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The wind comes sweeping down the plain... (part 2)



Yesterday was a normal, hot, Oklahoma-Summer kind of day. The temperature hit 100 degrees and Elodie and I stayed in most of the day, under the air conditioning on the couch. In the evening the temperature started to cool down and it was like it was Spring again. Clouds covered the sky and we laid in the hammock until her cheeks turned pink.

When I came inside to start dinner, I heard thunder, and already in my head, I was excited about our evening. Michael would be home from work at 7:30, dinner would be ready, Elodie would be bathed and in bed, and we would have a date night - backed by the sound of one of our sweet Summer thunderstorms.

I went outside to take video of the storm coming in. The clouds whirled in a sea of gray and the family of grackles - Mama & Papa bird, and their three babies chattered in the Bradford Pear tree behind our house. I took video of them, dancing, whistling, singing. I have been taping them for the last few weeks. Leaving the shelter of their home, black silhouettes against our beautiful sky.

Twenty minutes after Michael got home, the wind started to tear through the sky and we lost power. The house went dark, my music turned off, and the stove turned cold.

And then the most powerful storm I have ever been in ripped through our neighborhood and took everything in it's path. For half an hour, hail almost the size of tennis balls, 85 mile per hour winds, and heavy rain poured down onto our house. I have lived in Oklahoma my entire life, been in hundreds of tornado warnings and never once have I seen anything like it. Our trees bent and snapped, our window screens were bent and ripped from the frames, and I couldn't do anything but stand in the window, videotaping and watching something so powerful that I had absolutely no control of.

When it was over, we went outside to see what had happened to our little yard and house.



Outside, we found the shredded remains of the plants and flowers I spent the last few months nurturing. Our willow tree lost almost all it's branches, and there was a fence in our yard that did not belong to us, or any of our neighbors.







The wind picked up again, and the storm was coming back. Originally it had come from the North and destroyed our back yard. This time we felt it coming from the South, and we ran back inside before the second round of hail, high winds, and rain came through and did more damage.

When it was over, the sun started to come out and the air was still and calm. There was still rain falling, big glassy beads shining in the sunshine.













Other than crushed shutters, downed fences, ripped screens, and this hole in our house, we got lucky. Our neighbor lost a few windows from the huge hail, and their house flooded.



Most of our damage came to our little yard...my gardens.



I walked through the yard with a sad feeling in the pit of my stomach. My sunflower garden laid destroyed, before it ever had a chance to bloom into a field of yellow.



My saddest discovery came with the realization that most of the giant Bradford Pear was gone. The sweet Spring blooms I clip to bring inside, the flat green plates it formed in the Summer, that burned bright and red by Fall. And the family of grackles.

Mama and Papa bird were flying frantically from tree to tree, circling our street looking for their babies.
I held E a little bit tighter and felt an overwhelming guilt for so strongly mourning a patch of lost sunflowers.



When night rolled around and our power still wasn't back on, we packed up with flashlights and headed to my parents house.

I thought about our June 14th storm. Living in a state with storms so strong that 35,000 homes were left without power. Just like the song says, every Spring and Summer, wind, hail, tornadoes, and rain sweep down our plains and leave destruction. And every year, like a haunting reminder, we realize that we are part of something bigger than our every day.

The world keeps spinning, the grackles will have a new brood of babies, and even my sunflower patch will grow back, next Summer.

Today, I am thankful for our health, insurance, and weather so bad, that the good seems that much sweeter.




Also read:
Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain - May 2010

70 comments:

K said...

So glad you are okay. Hugs to you.

raichel said...

So sorry!!!
But you three are all right...

Kisses from Spain!

agapelife said...

A devastating and lovely post.
Thank you for sharing, and glad your sweet family is safe.

blessings.

TaMs* said...

I am so so sorry for your loss! How scary. Ugh.. that is so devistating. boo.

Nikki said...

i'm glad that you & your family are okay!

Kim said...

Glad to see/hear you're all okay. Stay safe!

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Even in a scary moment, u still manage to take some great photos even tho there is damage, you are ok and that is all that matters..btw. re-stake that willow... believe me it will come back to life..

Jacki said...

I'm so sorry for the damages, Aura, but glad you and your family are safe.

Wendy said...

Thank god your family stayed safe. I hope you will be able to get your house and your garden back together quickly. XO

katie said...

well crap...i'm so sorry. we have a few limbs down and our back yard is a disaster. a little bit of roof damage. i bet your flowers will come back better than you think. insurance is good for somethings. :)

Jaymi said...

We had something similar happen a few years ago, right after I had redone our garden. When it was all over, I was so upset about my plants, but the sparrows who live in a birdhouse my dad made lost their babies. I felt like such a jerk.

Jamie Lane said...

Wow, I had no idea it hit Norman that bad I live in Norman! I live off Highway 9 and Classen and we only got dime sized hail and our power went out 'till midnight. My husband and I drove around after it was over to see how many others were out of power but we didn't see any damage like that. I'm so glad that your husband didn't have to drive in that, how scary that could have been for you both. I'm so sorry about your yard that you've put so much love into. But I'm so glad your house protected you all. Good house. :)

Denise said...

oh my goodness. how quickly things can change. i'm so glad that your sweet family is safe.

mama D said...

and now comes time to repair, mend, and re-grow.

glad you three are together and safe.

that is most important of all.

ljamroz said...

I hate that your beautiful gardens were messed up after all that work and nurturing. I am thankful though that you are all safe and ok.

Alexandria said...

I'm so glad all of you are ok. It's sad to see such destruction, but when you think of what could have happened it puts things in great perspective.

Urban Wife said...

Incredible. It certainly is difficult to lose so much after putting hard work into it but I am glad you and your family were okay through it all! Best of luck on the repairs. :)

Niki said...

I only recently started reading your blog, but I am glad to see that you and your family are alright. Sending you my best.

Carly Anne said...

I'm so sorry that all of the work you put into your gorgeous yard was destroyed! This reminds me of an ice storm that occurred at my parents home on Lake Superior in Minnesota; it changed the landscape forever. They are still "cleaning" up a year later. Tough, emotional stuff.

Kate said...

Oh how heart breaking.
I wish you luck and strength to rebuild and restore.

runrettarun said...

I'm so sorry! Oklahoma weather still surprises me after all these years.

Glad your family is safe and sound.

Noodles and Waffles said...

So scary. I'm glad you and your family are okay.

Bridget said...

oh my goodness, the thought of the birds flying around looking for their babies is enough to make me cry.

glad you're all ok.

Paige said...

I am so glad you and your family are safe!

Fashionably Learning To Be said...

I'm sad for your baby birds, pear tree and lovely flowers that were yet to be! However, it does put things into perspective to realize we are so lucky to have safe, happy, and healthy families.

--JamJam said...

:( Poor baby Grackles and your little garden. But I must say, this particular installment of photos is absolutely beautiful.

You have such a great attitude about everything. If it were me I wouldn't be looking at things in nearly as positive a light as you. I admire that!!

<3

Christine C. said...

Aura...so glad that you and your family are safe, but what a difficult thing to have to go through, especially with a new baby. I will be thinking of you as you begin to recover and rebuild.

Kindra said...

I understand how scary that could be. I live in Tuscaloosa where a tornado came through about 2 months ago and destroyed a lot of lives and places, but spared me and my loved ones. So glad your family is okay, though I am so so sorry for your backyard and your neighborhood. "This too shall pass." (:

Becka Robinson said...

:( sad for the birdies. happy you all are okay.

jociegal said...

Oh my goodness! How frightening! It is always a strange moment when Mother Nature makes you feel so small. I am so glad that you and your family are safe.

Carolina said...

Choked up about the birds :( But I'm glad otherwise you and your wee family are safe.

Amy said...

Poor grackles. :( I miss those screeching dinosaur birds...

My mom was telling me about this storm yesterday! They did not get it nearly so bad though. I'm sorry your yard got torn up! That is awful! Although I'm sure you'll use the opportunity to do some more beautiful gardening!

Annie Kennedy said...

As much as I love storms and it thrills me to see lightning coming in over the nearby mountains - this is devastating. I'm so glad you are all okay, but I am sorry for all that isn't.

kati said...

broke my heart to read this, but i'm so glad you're all ok. every time i hear about those big storms this summer, i think of you standing on your little hill watching one last summer and hope you're ok!

Taylor C. said...

So gald that you and your family are safe, what a relief! Sad to hear that the bird's lost their babies.

Charlotte said...

wow! glad no one was hurt! i am sorry for the birdies and your sunflowers, though. :(

mbeaubien said...

I've been reading your blog for about a month now. I truly love your pictures and your stories. This one in particular got straight to my heart. I know you've been living in Oklahoma since you're young but aren't you a bit afraid for Elodie when such things happen? I'm so glad though to see that you are all okay. Stay safe and keep those awesome posts coming! :)

we hold hands said...

oh aura! I'm so sorry about your garden and backyard... but as others have said I'm inspired by your positive thoughts. It's so easy to get caught up in the small stuff and get frustrated with what life throws at you... but I truly love your ability to see the light and beauty in the world! Thanks for sharing!

Sarah said...

oh no :( glad everyone is okay and everything is replaceable.

Kiersten said...

Oh my gosh, Aura I'm so sorry! I'm so glad you're all okay, though!
I know it may not be the only one all season, but I hope that it's the worst!
<3 Kiersten

Jenny said...

My grandmother lives in Oklahoma, and as a little girl I visited her each summer. I remember one early morning storm that raged through - I was maybe 6 or 7 and scared to death, while she calmly baked a blueberry pie in the dim light of the kitchen. I had kind of forgotten that memory until I read your story. Thank you for bringing it back to me!
Glad you and your family are safe - and totally inspiried by your ability to see the blessings through the devastation.

Victoria said...

I'm glad you 3 are ok.
What a beautiful & raw post. Thanks for making these storms so real.

abby | ybba said...

These are pretty pictures for a "disaster" that happened. And a storm on a summer hitting 100 degrees during the day? Oklahoma... I will never know.

-Abby

Sini said...

Nature has it's own ways, so powerful and beautiful.. even it might destroy everything. I am relived that you and your family are safe. So sorry for the plants and garden, but luckily it is just something that can be replaced.

Sini xx

Selena said...

You're right! We are part of something bigger than us.
I'm so sorry for your garden, I had the same problem last week with my pepper plants!
Glad that you are well!
hug

didi said...

my stomach feels weird knowing the storm destroyed your garden. but i'm glad you're all okay. take care, Aura. and i must say, those photos with natural light are pretty.

Jessica said...

We must live in the same part of Oklahoma. That was definitely a scary storm.

Strongmomma said...

This scared me, made me feel sad for your garden but made me super happy that you are all okay.
The world is so full of the unknown.
We truly do have to live, LIVE, for each day.

xxooxxoo, a mom here (from N.Y) of four :)

Nolita said...

Whoa! It looks like you guys got the brunt of the storm! The microbursts we experienced on Tuesday were quite a surprise. In central Norman it wasn't as bad. NE Norman got hit the worst. I posted vids/pics of our experience on my blog. Glad you guys are ok..hope your plants make a comeback. The Bradford pears in town seem to take a hit whenever there's ice or wind involved...hope yours makes it!

Erin @ The Design Lush said...

My goodness! I am so sorry for your gardens but I am glad you all are safe. I have heard a lot of stories from others down there with a lot of damage. I was at my parents' in Guthrie and there was nothing! It came on so fast down there. Again I am glad you all are ok and I hope your repairs come quickly :)

Betsy said...

C'mon! You love your gardens more than anyone I know! I'm sooo sorry for all the work you have to do. And for the grackles (I was really hoping that had a good ending).

Shea said...

I'm so sorry about your house, and I know how much you loved that beautiful garden. Your outlook is positive, and wonderful though. Glad you all or safe.

Sealicious said...

I am so glad you are safe! But I am sorry for the damage to your house and beautiful gardens :(

17 Perth said...

This was, as always, a beautifully written post. I am so thankful you guys are okay amongst the debris. It looks like a pretty rough storm and I love your outlook....so much to be thankful for.

Amanda said...

So sorry to see the damages! But you know your priorities so it's okay to mourn your sunflowers! Gardens can be like our "babies" as well. Is it too late to start over?

katie @ KatieDid said...

Its so nice to see your positive outlook after something that would really shake a lot of people. Glad you and your family are all okay, and hopefully everything can be put back together in time.

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com said...

Aura, words cannot even begin to describe how relieved I am that you and your family are all safe and sound. I have been reading here for years now (I say it like it's been forever, but I think it's only been like two years lol)(sorry I'm a rotten commenter), and I see in this post what I love most about you and your blog - the ability to come through this sort of experience with an eye on the beautiful.

I could not find your contact info here, so I contacted you through Bark and Leaves. I have plenty of extra seeds and sprouts for all manner of veggies and herbs (I'm talking twenty tomato varieties, seriously, it's ridiculous), so if you would like a care package of new plants and seeds to get your garden growing again, please let me know. I would love to help out in any way I can. When my family garden was devastated by floods last year, my blog readers really rallied behind us and helped me re-start again with plants. Not waiting three or four weeks for all the sprouts and not spending the money on new plants really helped a ton. I can also guarantee that everything we do is organic and heirloom, so you don't have to worry about any pesty chemicals in Elodie's milk supply =)

Again, I'm glad you're safe, and please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you get your garden up and running again. I know how much it means to you and I would love to help you achieve that goal of not buying a single store tomato =)

arielle said...

aura, i just wanted to say that you have an absolutely lovely blog. your pictures and writing is beautiful and i always love visiting :)

Marie said...

oh my goodness! i'm so sorry to hear about the destruction... the baby grackles... your neighbor's house. I'm glad you all are safe and had somewhere cool to spend the night.
Mother Nature is a powerful lady. Although it wasn't nearly as bad as the one you described, we had a storm last night with thunder so loud it made my bones shudder. It was really magnificent, but terrifying, too.

Best to you all.... I hope your power is back and that everything is patched up quickly!

Susanna said...

so thankful you're okay...my heart breaks at the losses, even the small ones...i hope you can recover your garden & see beauty there once more.

Zamora Desert Vintage said...

My prayers are with ya'll! Sending love from the east coast! Glad you guys are ok! I know that this will just be a fun project to make up, and you are so creative, that this will just be inspiring to maybe do something fun and new!!! Xo!

journeyofthespirit2 said...

My garden and any baby birds are like my babies, too. I would be so sad also. Much love to you - I'm glad you three are safe.

Crystle said...

I live in Norman, OK and the damage was terrible in my neighborhood. Fortunately, we only had limbs down.

I'm also a homeowners claims adjuster, so I definitely got a lot of calls from members on their property damage. I feel your pain!

Nakia said...

Glad to hear that everyone is safe. Just wanted to let you know i did a post on my site and your included check it out if you like.

http://www.preciouschic.blogspot.com/

xoxo,
Vogue & Vintage

white collar | green soul said...

oh no! so glad you guys are okay... we had a really bad windstorm a month or so back - taking off a roof of a school and capsizing rowing boats filled with 100 students into frigid waters - no casualties, amazingly enough.

very sad for your garden...

Janelle said...

Glad you're all alright! What a stark reminder to be thankful for each day...

Pam said...

only you my dear can have me read a story that i think is going to be about wind damage and leave me crying over mommy and daddy bird searching for their lost and probably dead babies, i've never even thought about what happens to the really small animals during a storm and now i'll probably think about it every time, it's like those arms of the angels dog and cat commercials that make us cry, i could have gone my whole life without thinking about that and been perfectly fine, thanks aura! ;) lol

Nolita said...

Aura, the good folks that I work with are saying that we'll have a repeat of last Tuesday today starting at 4pm to around 2am, but with bigger hail (baseball sized) so please batten down the hatches and stay safe!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the devastation to your things, especially your garden... It must be so heartbreaking. I cried for the grackle babies and their parents. I'm glad you guys are okay.

Pam said...

so sorry about your garden and sweet flowers, happy you and your little family is safe and sound. Love, love love your precious picture of you and your sweet baby girl in the hammock! =)