Saturday, February 2, 2013

All the Trees



I woke up at 2 am on Wednesday night to a fierce wind howling and the sound of cracking wood.  There were three loud pops, and I knew that trees or branches were falling near the barn.  I leaped out of bed and ran to the window, but it was pitch black out there. For the next two hours, I fidgeted in my bed, trying to talk myself out of going outside to see if the horses were safe. Then, at 4 am, the wind started wailing, and the windows of the house began shaking like they did during Hurricane Sandy. My daughter rushed into my room, and we agreed that it would be best to go down to the living room. There are several huge trees that could hit the house if they came down, and I was seriously considering taking child, dog and cat to the basement. My husband was out of town, as he often seems to be for these major weather dramas. Sometimes I think that Mother Nature consults his travel schedule before she decides to stir things up.

For the next two and a half hours, my daughter kept talking me out of going outside to see if the horses were okay. If she hadn’t been here, I probably would have been crazy enough to try to check on them. As soon as the sky began to lighten, I rushed to the windows to see what happened out back. There was a big tree down behind the pasture and several really large branches in the pasture, but the barn was fine. This morning, as I stood with Silk while she ate her breakfast and looked at the debris still scattered across our property, I felt such strong attachment to each of the magnificent trees that I live with every day.

I realized that I can distinctly remember the trees in each of the yards that I lived in since I was a child.  There were the elm and pear and crabapple trees I climbed in Illinois, and I can recall almost every detail of the landscape where I grew up. Then, there were the grapefruit and fig trees that delighted me in Los Angeles. And the five avocado trees I loved in San Diego. We lived in an old avocado grove, and it was heaven to reach out and pluck them off the twisted branches and throw them in a salad. And the huge whispering pines in Virginia that soothed me to sleep at night. There was a time, for sixteen years while I lived in New York City, where I lost contact with nature. I did walk in Central Park often as a way of calming down and centering myself, but my attention was focused on my career and seeing the world and riding on the edge of what was next.

There’s no doubt that Silk brought back a big piece of me that had been missing when I was lucky enough to find her sixteen years ago. By the time we left North County in San Diego, there were big ugly MacMansions planted on the crest above the ranch -- but in the beginning, I could ride her up the hill, past the eucalyptus tree where the red-tailed hawk had a nest of babies, and stare out at the Pacific Ocean.  Standing with my horse this morning, while she munched on her breakfast, I was reminded of all the beautiful views that I’ve seen thanks to the trails we’ve gone down together. I’m so lucky that she came into my life.


11 comments:

Lori Skoog said...

Glad to read that your barn was not damaged. Such heavy winds lately...here too. We have some very large trees next to our house that could easily crush the roof in. I hope it never happens. You sure have lived in a lot of places...was there a favorite? I would love to have avacado trees, and can't imagine viewing the ocean from horseback.

Victoria Cummings said...

Lori - I have been fortunate to live in some really great places. I think that growing up outside of Chicago was really wonderful, and living in San Diego in those years before all the development got out of hand was also beautiful. And now, here in New England, I feel like I live on sacred ground full of history and connected to nature more than ever. I do miss the avocado trees and the blue Pacific. Living all over the country has taught me that this land has so much to offer us, and we need to protect it from the strip malls and cookie cutter subdivisions.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

I fall in live with trees too! Those big winds were scary the other night. Glad your damage wasn't worse.

Judging from that lovely picture, I think Silk feels the same way about you! :D

Oak in the Seed said...

As much as the trees around our house center my life, they also threaten it. Hmmmmm. Wonder if there is some king of spiritual balance lesson to be pulled here.

Glad your daughter was there to keep you from possible harm and that your barn & Silk & Siete are well.

Spring is coming.

Victoria Cummings said...

It's true that the trees around our house threaten us too, and Wednesday night, I decided that I had to be able to sleep through high wind without feeling like my roof was going to crash in on me. So, we are going to take out a couple of the beech trees that shade our patio and our house. It is really a hard decision, but we realized that we need peace of mind.
One thing I do know is that SIlk loves me. And I'm so glad that my daughter is here to weather the storms with me.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Scary winds the other night for sure. Kept me getting up and checking the trees that are close to the house. I'm like you, I hate to get rid of trees but they are threatening the house because they are so close. Glad everything worked out for you and the girls. And you had your daughter there to keep you from heading out in the weather until it was safe.

billie said...

So glad that there was not more damage than the fence! As you know from FB, we had similar winds here recently and were under a tornado watch during the middle of the night. It was crazy - I was on the iPad monitoring the severe band that was approaching and as it neared, husband went to the barn to stay with the horses while it passed through. The worst passed with no problem, but later in the night a piece of fencing was knocked down, either by wind or by a spooked Salina. We have a number of huge oaks around the house/barn and I can't bring myself to take them down. We have a good place to go if needed during high winds but never go down there b/c of the horses. I'm usually in the barn with them or watching out the back window. Hopefully this is it for weather drama for awhile!

Wolfie said...

How lucky were you to be able to pick avocados for your salad!! And viewing the ocean while on Silk?! Fantastic! We have experienced some very high winds here, too. I have two very large trees next to the house, but I would never be able to bring myself to cut them down on the chance that they may cause damage to the house, unless it was something like roots damaging the foundation of the house. Glad that you and yours survived your windy night.

C-ingspots said...

Oh Victoria, horses are wonderful aren't they? We are so blessed to have them in our lives. And like you, I have a very strong attraction to trees also. We lost our grand old apple tree over a year ago, and I still mourn that loss. Trees are majestic, beautiful, provide us with food, shelter, shade and sometimes firewood. What more could we ask of them? Lovely post....and so very happy to hear that the horses and barn were outside the fall zone. I probably would have traipsed out to the barn. :)

juliette said...

Victoria, I've been thinking of you as I hear about this next storm - I'll keep you in my thoughts! I hope your husband is back now. Love up the sweetest Silk and Siete and keep you all safe. Horses are our link to nature and sanity. If only they could live in our houses with us! Then we could take them to the basement as necessary - lol!

Bonnie said...

I love that picture of the tree against the sky. Enjoyed the post and thought of all the stuff in my house that has a story. Would help if I dusted them more. :-)