It is not possible to walk through the woods here without remembering Hurricane Ivan. It has been almost two years, and the dead trees are still standing, their bark sliding until the shucked core is exposed, shiny and tight like fevered skin, riddled with holes, become bird and bug condo, still useful.
Some are twisted, others still standing with only a ragged trunk remaining, looking oddly like a huge, poorly sharped pencil.
Hurricane Ivan blew through our small forest and destroyed 350 trees outright, but only took a screen porch door for a souvenir from the house. Lucky doesn’t begin to describe it.
Fifty yards to the west of the house, there was a wide ripped-up twister path.
We were out of the country when Ivan hit. By the time we returned, power had been restored, and a path from the gate to the house had been cleared by the same friends who cleaned out our refrigerator.
Nature has the benefit of a longer time horizon than people. At least it seems that way to me, looking at news coverage of Hurricane Katrina one year out. A year for a person in a FEMA trailer is a long time.
We grieved over the loss of those magnificent old longleaf pines. One grand old oak tree would have survived, except that a taller pine, falling, split it right down the middle.
There is beauty and teeming life here again. The trees which struck the earth with such force were loaded with pine cones. More seeds than usual were shaken loose and driven into the ground by wind and rain.
The result has been a bumper crop of volunteer young trees, slash pine in abundance and many young longleafs. Combined with our longleaf planting program, the older surviving trees are presiding over a veritable nursery of toddlers.
One of these longleafs was planted. One is a volunteer.
As long as trees are planted here rather than subdivisions, this story has no ending. Storms are part of the life cycle. These photos are just a few snapshots in time.