A Severe Storm, A Community of Neighbors

Fallen Tree
At the end of our block: A Neighbor’s Fallen Tree
Photo: RStanton

Our community of neighbors came together last Saturday, sharing their stories of the night before.  Even strangers approached one another, starting up conversations easily.

But then how can a community not come together when they’ve gone through something big, powerful, and devastating?

Last Friday evening, on the first day of summer, straight-line winds attacked the Twin Cities area.  As we looked out our front bay window we saw trees bending, branches waving, and leaves sailing through the air like rain itself.  I had never been part of a storm of this magnitude.

Rick by fallen branch
We were lucky. Rick stands next to our only loss: one branch from our backyard red maple tree.

When Rick and I took our bikes through the neighborhood on Saturday afternoon, we saw the damage and devastation the storm left behind.  Though we had only lost a branch from our backyard red maple tree, many lost entire age-old trees.  Some lost cars to tree-falling damage, including a man who escaped unharmed when a tree fell across his windshield as he drove down the street.   Others had severe damage to their homes: a hole in the roof, a porch smashed in, a fence caved-in, windows broken.  And a number of broken electric live wires lay strewn over streets and sidewalks.

But we saw something besides damage and devastation.  We saw what it means to be a community of neighbors.

We noticed people out on the streets, standing together, supporting one another, sympathizing and encouraging one another.  Together they shared their experience of the storm.  They—and we—needed to talk about what had impacted us or scared us or amazed us.

And I thought of those who have experienced so much worse, those who’ve lost everything in a tornado or other major weather event.  How do they do it?  How do they get through it?

Now I understand.  I understand that the strength, wisdom, and support of the community help all of us get through tough times.  The day after the storm,  I saw our neighbors sustained and nourished by their relationships with one another.

Fallen tree & Broken Fence

Rain does not fall on one roof alone.  –Cameroonian Proverb

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