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A Window On My World

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Saturday, March 22, 2008


The old folks used to say February did not have weather of its own, that it borrows days from January and March. So it seemed this morning.

While waking as I lay abed before rising, I could hear March-like winds roaring in the treetops. This month we have had snow and bitter cold with freezing rain as if it were January. But the wind has been ruthless across the country. Numerous tornadoes killed many people while destroying the homes and dreams of many more.

My own brother and his family lost their house in Tennessee. The house was demolished, but I am happy to report thankfully, that no one was hurt. It is a wonder that is so.

Brother's work had taken him away to Texas. With alerts and warnings of dangerous weather rapidly approaching, his daughter-in-law and granddaughter had the good sense to go to a relation's house to spend the night in their basement which was built to serve as a storm cellar. There they were safe. But, his son, my forty-seven year old nephew who should have known better, foolishly stayed and survived by going to the floor in a centrally located closet. He has said he will never do that again. I am relieved he lived to learn the lesson. He said it hit and it all happened in three seconds, then it was over. Will people never learn we cannot toy with the forces of nature!

My brother told us, if they had been in bed, his son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter would have been killed. His voice choked-up as he tried to describe to us over the telephone what had landed on their beds where each normally would have lain. His own room was less damaged, but the house, as a whole is 100% totaled.

Their town, Jackson, Tennessee, was one of the worst damaged. Nearby (I am not good with guessing distances, but I guess about two miles), there is Union University (a Southern Baptist university) where over a thousand students were in dormitories. Their cars (over a thousand cars) in the parking lots were destroyed, dormitories were heavily damaged, but the students came out of those dormitories with only minor injuries! All who have seen the campus have deemed it a miracle due to divine intervention.

And, so, little February has been pitching its fits and raging about.

For this gardener, it is beginning to seem February is the designated month for illness. Last year I was ill all month, recuperating into March. This year viruses have landed on me again. I hope it doesn't extend more than a week this time, and I hope this is not a pattern establishing itself.

Viruses are bad enough, but I have the complication of a chronic pain syndrome that always flares when a virus sets in. It turns my brain to mush and buckles my knees. I have tried to do some writing, but it was impossible. I am in the sixth day of this siege, and as I type this, I feel the pain returning - the medicine is wearing off - not that it does a lot of good. I do not like to take pills, but believe me during these spells, I must. Each day I think: maybe this is the last day and tomorrow it will be gone... Maybe tomorrow, it will be.

Garden work has been at a standstill for a few months. Then last week major tree work was done by a professional tree service company. After five years, the last major "hanger" left by the ice storm of February 2003 is now gone, as is, one of our beloved fifty years old Sugar Maple street trees. It was 85% dead, and I didn't want to make the mistake I made with "The Most Important Tree", of which I have written in the past.

So, that is done; thus progress has been made. Snow has melted and there, smiling bright as buttons, are the little yellow Eranthis - this garden's harbinger of spring. Sweet, white snowdrops are appearing everywhere. The color of the Goldfinches at our feeder is gradually returning to their winter-drab feathers with each day. It takes such a little to make a gardener happy! Isn't life wonderful!

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