Author of OUTBACK LOVE a contemporary romance novel set in Australia, JETTING AWAY a short story prequel to OUTBACK LOVE, MOON OVER MADNESS a paranormal romantic comedy and BAYOU BLUES AND OTHER SORROWS a collection of short stories and poems about life and love. All are available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Diesel and Kobo. On Twitter @TeriHeyer

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Tale of Trees and Crazy Storms

My mom's White Oak Tree downed by a tornado last night.
Last night one of those crazy storm cells went through the Atlanta area of Stone Mountain. My mom and brother witnessed the storm first hand when a "small" tornado pogo-sticked down into their cul-de-sac and wrecked havoc in seconds time.

My brother said he was sitting in a chair next to the window in their door. A perfect spot to sit and watch the lightning striking Stone Mountain. He said all of a sudden a black swirling mass dropped down and the next thing he knew their giant White Oak Tree (a good hundred feet in height) was torn apart and catapulted directly at the front door. He said it happened so fast that all he could do was sit there and watch as the tree flew sideways through the air and then was jerked backwards like on a bungee-cord and then dropped across the whole front yard. The top of the tree was wedged up onto the front porch, but didn't damage a thing.

I've always told my brother that he must be part cat. Once again this holds true as he just lost another of his nine lives. He came a hairsbreadth away from destruction.

My mom had just taken their two Basset Hounds down to the basement to ride out the storm. Their three cats, Chester included, were probably upstairs hiding under a bed.

The tornado did a pogo-stick thing through their neighborhood, taking out trees and downing power lines along its way. The power lines are underground at my mom's house, so they were lucky in that respect. However, the area was without power for a few hours while Georgia Power reconnected downed lines.

I talked to my mom and brother close to midnight last night as they wanted me to know what had happened. They'd tried to call me earlier, but our house phone (a Magic Jack number via our PC) and cell phone were both turned off. How we ended up with both phones accidentally turned off is beyond me. So I didn't get the story until a few hours after it happened.
Wisteria Vine wrapped around the tree.

This morning I talked to my mom and brother again. They already had a tree service there to cut and chop up the downed tree. They reported that the tree was over 100 feet tall. The tree was twisted off at about ten feet up from the ground. It turns out the old tree was hollow inside, which made it easy to take down. But the amazing thing is the Wisteria Vine that was wrapped around the base of the tree and which wound its way to the top. The vine is what tethered the tree to the ground and kept it from catapulting through the front door and into the house. So the vine pretty much acted as a bungee-cord and saved the day.

The old White Oak tree was filled with squirrel nests. Where did the squirrels go when the tornado struck? My husband tells me the little critters probably landed miles down the road. I hope they made safe landings, but I have my doubts about that. Very sad.
The old oak was hollowed out.

This brings to mind the fact that our country is being plagued with an assortment of crazy storms lately. Hundreds of thousands, or maybe it's millions now, of trees have been felled by these storms.  Power lines have been downed across the country, houses and cars crushed, lives lost. There doesn't seem to be an end in sight.

My mom says God is angry about the way we're physically destroying our country, our earth. That could be. Who am I to question the way of things? I do know we strip mine, frack, raze and pollute our land from one end to another. It's a very sad state of affairs. I hope we all wake up and do something about it before it's too late.

This brings to mind Shel Silverstein's book, The Giving Tree, where the boy/man uses the tree until there's nothing left but the stump. One of my twin granddaughters, only three years old, loves that book. She says, "And the tree was happy." I'm not so sure. How can the tree be happy about being destroyed?

For me,  this is a day of introspection. The day is cloudy with intermittent lightning, booming thunder and rain. A good time to sit inside and think. Where do we go from here? What is my direction in life? It's a time to be thankful for family and friends and staying safe. It is a time to think about God.


  1. I'm glad everyone is safe, Teri. It does make one thankful to have those we love still around us.

    1. Thanks, Ruth. It's a reminder that things can happen in the blink of an eye.

  2. Very nicely written, Teri. I do not think we need to look to god to see where all this crazy weather is coming from. We've done it to ourselves, and I fear it is only going to get worse before many people acknowledge that.

    1. Thanks, Michael. You're right, we have ourselves to blame for all this. We need to take care of our environment before it's too late.


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