One of my favorite things about the Ozarks is the amazing thunderstorms we have. As a child of the desert, I never saw the power and majesty of a thunderstorm fueled by the clash of warm wet air from the Gulf and cold dry air from my native high mountains. It is a truly magnificent sight! The air is overflowing with energy, black clouds boil and curl, and the wind smells of living things and ozone. My skin tingles and I can barely keep still.
Last Wednesday we felt the dark side of this blessing. Just as I finished chores, the sky suddenly darkened. Though the morning had been pleasant and sunny, it quickly looked like late evening. The clouds seemed strangely alive and the wind that had been playfully rustling the new leaves fell quiet, leaving an eerie silence undisturbed the the usual bird and insect noises of spring.
In a moment we were struck by a storm of incredible ferocity. The wind screamed and tore at WeeHavyn as torrents of rain were forced sideways. Soon the din grew even louder as the rain gave way to hail, at first small but quickly growing to marble size. Nothing could be seen outside but a mad whirling of rain, hailstones and leaves, often illuminated by flashes of lightning. The world seemed to be tearing itself apart in the midst of a colossal temper tantrum.
As with most tantrums, the fury was short lived. The wind died and the curtain of hail turned to a much quieter steady rain. A new world was revealed, much different that the burgeoning spring landscape it had so thoroughly hidden. Bruised and battered leaves covered the ground and clung to the trees in limp tatters. The tender new shoots of the mulberries I had doted on almost as if they were my children, where all beheaded as neatly as if they were casually scythed. Nearly all of the growing tips of the kiwi vines I had been carefully training along their trellis were clipped away. Strawberry leaves were shredded, revealing bruised green fruit. There was little that was not touched by that furious fifteen minutes.
Nature is nothing if not determined and resilient. Shoots will re-sprout and new leaves will grow. My hedge will still be strong and beautiful by summer. Yet…..it will always bear the scars of this storm. Where only one shoot would have been, there will be several. Years from now, I will be able to look at the hedge and see evidence of the storm. It will not necessarily be better or worse, it will just be different. This mirrors my own life in so many ways. I bear the scars from tumultuous storms that have left me different.
Yet they are so much a part of who I am, I would not change them.