Monday, August 19, 2013

Tornado reshapes the woods

By David Horst

Destruction came to visit up on the sand hill we call home.

We were in the path of the f2 tornado that bounced through the Hortonville area. The roar of the wind about 1 a.m. was so loud, sleep was not possible. I went to the bedroom window and saw trees battered by such force that they seemed to be gripping the ground with their roots to hold on.

I thought to myself, we're going to lose a few trees. There was no siren and the forecast said nothing about severe weather. The storm passed so quickly, it seemed like damage would be minimal. A walk of our land Wednesday morning showed that couldn't have been further from reality.

Half a dozen large oaks, a maple, a basswood 16 inches in diameter and various other trees blocked our driveway. Better said, they enveloped the driveway.

Trees were topped or toppled everywhere. It seemed like the bigger the tree, the more it was at risk. Oaks -- great big oaks -- sprawled across the floor of the woods still clasping rocks in their roots. Others leaned heavily on their neighbors.

A tangle of aspens looked like a giant's matches spilled from the box. Evergreens arched over in a permanent bow.

My rough count is at least 75 trees are down. Dozens more have limbs or crowns ripped from them.

The house was not touched. Neither was the barn. Trees fell on both sides of the pasture fence but only one small section of the wire was damaged.

Forty yards from felled decades-old oaks, bird feeders hung untouched. An old  metal bowl that rests unfastened on a trio of rusted shovels to serve as a bird bath was undisturbed.

Our neighbors got it worse. One had a tree fall on his boat. Another's house and brand new garage got hit. Across the road, a barn squatted in ruins. Chunks of metal roofing littered the roadside for a quarter-mile.

It was an awe-inspiring demonstration of nature's power, and an amazing stroke of luck. The cleanup will go on for months. The new aspens will sprout quickly and densely. Young oaks and shag-bark hickories will rush to fill the openings in the canopy.

Nature will replace what she took away and we will always remember August of unlucky 2013.

1 comment:

  1. It was amazing the outcome of your property. I would say more than luck came your way. I would say our Creator of the Universe protected you and your Up on the Sand Hill Homestead. :-)