Thursday, February 12, 2009

It was a dark and scary night

Wind scares me more than just about anything else does here in the cabin. The idea of one of the large oaks toppling over and hitting the cabin is never far from my mind when the wind howls as it did last night. Winds gusted over up to 60 mph and were sustained at not much less than that.

Anything that wasn’t nailed down disappeared. The dog gate fell over and banged on the back deck. I heard some kind of metallic clanging somewhere down around Roundtop. I lost power several times, though not for any length of time. I didn’t get much sleep once the wind started.

Once, a large tulip poplar perhaps 30 feet from the cabin toppled over in an east wind (not the typical wind direction here) and took out a total of 16 other trees with it. I counted them because the whole fiasco surprised me too. A few of those were also good-sized trees, with the rest smaller ones. I wasn’t at the cabin when that happened—probably a good thing. The tree still lays where it fell. The uprooted base served as a fox den for at least one litter of kits.

I have been at the cabin when other trees have fallen in the forest. For the most part I don’t hear them when it happens. I feel them, like a little earthquake. The ground will vibrate under my feet for a few seconds to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the distance and the size of the tree. Sometimes when the trees are fairly close I can hear them hit the ground. That invariably sets the dogs to barking.

Fortunately, the large oaks that surround my little cabin are still standing this morning. They all look healthy enough and are straight and tall. It’s just that when the ground is soft and the wind is high, well, things can happen.


The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wind is indeed a scary business when you're in the woods. Daylight or dark.

I've been on day hikes when winds increased to the point where trees begin toppling—and actually watched some big beech come over once (one taking down another) not fifty feet from where I huddled. On local smallmouth streams, I've gotten caught in storms and watched sycamores fall. And I've been camping, and in a tent at night when winds came up and a tree or two nearby fell—so close the ground shook.

Really scary. The feeling is always one of helplessness in the face of such elemental danger—and the randomness of the whole thing. Which tree will fall? When? Am I at risk here? Safer there?

A dark and scary night absolutely. Glad you and your cabin came through safe. Winds of 60 mph are no joke.

Carolyn H said...

TGBSISH: THere's nothing that can make me feel more helpless than Mother Nature when she's in a bad mood. I've handled floods and blizzards, violent thunderstorms right on top of me while I was hiking and camping, really cold weather and the like, but wind gets me every time.

Carolyn H.