The Tree

Damage from Hurricane Irene.

Around the corner from my house, a tree fell during Hurricane Irene, blocking the entire roadway.  By fortune, the tree did not land on a car or a house or power lines.  Had the wind shifted, had the break happened a little bit lower on the trunk, who knows what damage that tree could have caused.

Still, there is something sad about the loss of a tree.  As I looked at the site, I was taken by not only the enormity of the tree, but also by its age.  They say that by examining the rings of a tree, you can see the tree’s life, when it was a wet year or a dry year.  But the rings certainly can’t tell you what that tree came to mean to so many people; rings cannot tell you what any tree means to any person.

Staring at the tree, I thought about the trees in my own life.  There was the fir tree in the backyard, under which I would play with Matchbox cars and Tonka trucks, building roads so that a large root became an overpass.  There was the maple tree in the front yard, which would ignite with fiery leaves each autumn.  We would then rake the leaves into a huge pile and run and jump into the pile, or even have a leaf war with friends across the street.  My friend Thomas had a tree that was perfect for climbing, giving young minds a wh0le new view of life in suburbia.  My friend Bobby had a tree house, a simple platform high off the ground, a refuge from summer play and heat.

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Bloomin’ Update 9: Hydrangeas Hate Hurricanes

It’s the day before Hurricane Irene is forecasted to slam into Long Island.  I took advantage of the calm before the storm to give my plants a little pep talk.  I wanted to prepare them for what Jim Cantore and the folks at the Weather Channel said we could expect.  I wanted to encourage them to stand strong against the wind and the rain, that we would get through this together, and to rest easy that sunny skies will return.  I was especially impressed with the Hydrangeas, all of which put on an outstanding show this summer.  That’s why they were featured so heavily in many of the “Bloomin’ Update” posts.

Hydrangeas are my favorite flowering shrub.  I love the fullness of their blooms, the variety of their colors, the look and the feel they bring to the  landscape, and the length of time they hold onto the stem until their glory fades away.  Now, in the waning days of summer with a hurricane breathing down our necks, I offer you a  last look at some of my Hydrangeas, their vibrant colors now antiqued and slightly withered.  We should all be fortunate enough to age this gracefully.

I know this post is about Hydrangeas, and this is a Zinnia -- but with Hurricane Irene on its way, there wasn't enough time to argue with a flower that wanted a moment in the spotlight.

For anyone dealing with the hurricane, please stay safe.  Like I told my plants, we’ll get through this together and sunny skies are around the corner.  At least that’s what Jim Cantore keeps saying.