A forest starts and ends with a tree

On August 10, I sent a text shortly after noon to my flatmates:

“Get the chickens in! Shriekies first, as the big ones can get under cover.”

I do not use exclamation points lightly. As things turned out, it was appropriate. I was experiencing the beginnings of a storm so severe it would sever my electronic communication for some time. That was the last dependable text I would be able to send or recieve for days.

The shriekies spent the storm safe inside in the bathroom, the older chickens safe inside in the garage. The forest that I have loved and cared for since 1996 didn’t fare so well.

The rain swept through, being driven by winds at 140 miles an hour for 45 minutes. Straight line winds of such magnitude are known as a derecho, I would come to learn. It destroyed homes (not mine), businesses (not mine), and trees. Many, many trees.

The community estimates that more than 60 precent of the tree canopy is gone. In looking at the broken tops and splintered trunks of the remaining trees, we will lose a lot more in the coming years from this singular event.

The shriekies, also known as keets or baby guinea fowl
Sunlight glows inside of a shattered but still standing tree.

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