Christmas. That was the first thing I thought of after the sirens had ceased and we began the crawl up the narrow concrete steps from the cellar beneath our 119-year old house after the storm had passed. Christmas. The neighbor's 40' fir had come down onto our driveway blocking any hope of an exit, and crashed into our 20' redbud that, in turn, landed on what was once our patio furniture, taking our planters and my much beloved Buddha Birdhouse, currently providing sanctuary to a houseful of sparrows, with it. Where were they?
Our near 50' blue spruce had come down as well, as had all of our trees, revealing a root ball exceeding my 5'7" height by about 8 inches. Closer examination revealed four uprooted trees, all leaving gaping holes beneath them. The rest had been stripped, ripped, debarked, and twisted into unusual angles, some sporting siding, shingles, and one waving an American flag.
It smelled so fresh and pine-y and as if I'd just entered a Christmas tree lot. The rain had stopped, the power was out, and all we could hear were the gasps of neighbors as they surveyed the damage that was once their houses and yards.
We were lucky, our house was still standing. The shutters (original to the house) were long gone, bits and pieces of them scattered everywhere. The fence panels had been blown out, latticework at various bent angles around the yard. The garden bench was peaking out from beneath the 50' walnut tree on top of it. Where was the sundial?
It was dark and with our flashlights we weren't quite able to get the full impact until morning. The deck is crushed, the pool is gone, and I can see the houses of neighbors I never knew I had, and in some cases, can see inside their houses, one had been cut in half.
These pictures don't tell the story. I'd shown them to my parents who uttered solemn phrases of concern and sympathy, and then came by to view the scene; their mouths dropped open. It can't be captured on film. It looks like a war zone without the bodies. We now have power, but no phone, cable, or Internet. (I'll never bundle again). We're having lunch at St. Louis Bread Company (Panera to those of you not in the St. Louis metro area) and trying madly to catch up with email and get in touch with friends and relatives who may not have heard.
We're also trying madly to get back to normal hence this blog post with the promise of more. I am cooking. It's my therapy, and soon, very soon, hope to have more fun posts with colorful (almost edible) photos and delicious recipes. For now I just wanted to let you all know that I'm still here, just a little worse for wear, but looking on the bright side and thinking with all of the trees gone, I'll have sun. With sun I can grow vegetables! It's too soon to shop for seeds, but I'm thinking about it...and you. Stay with me!
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