We had an incredible wind storm last week. Wind speeds upward of 60-65 miles per hour, and gusts as high as 110 miles per hour. We took our ritual run in it. At the time I didn’t know the exact speed of the wind, but I sure felt different—it was a sensory cacophony of the auditory and tactile variety. My eardrums were penetrated by this high, loud, constant whistling. My forehead and chest pushed against the wind like it was a heavy piece of furniture I had to move. And my eyes were a broken faucet, dripping a steady stream of tears. All I could think about while I was out in the swirling, pushing, piercing wind was that this was only a fraction of what it must be like to be in a hurricane. Like Hurricane Katrina, which is so beautifully written about in Jewell Parker Rhodes’ Ninth Ward.
We went for another run a few days later. Back at Mud Pond Loop. It is another sensory cacophony—this time a visual and olfactory one. The forest has been turned upside down. Literally. The top branches of many of its trees are touching the ground, and their roots are sticking straight up into the air. One row of trees is precariously balanced on another larger tree like a row of dominoes on their way down. Giant chunks of earth—still attached to tree roots—are ripped up, leaving large, gaping holes. The edges of the woods is the most dramatic. Dozens and dozens of trees are down, because the wind had more force in the treeless fields surrounding them. And the scent—I have never smelled such a thick, deep scent of fresh cut wood and pine needles.
One lone blue jay called to us from a tree—one of the ones that is still standing—perhaps celebrating the fact that his neighborhood is quiet and safe once again.