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A Windy War is Waged

I love the wind. The wind is power. The wind is a vital energy force that moves through the body when it gusts against you. I have stood upon bluffs where the wind is whipped into a frenzy, so strong that one can briefly lean into it without fear of falling.

Now my experiences with the wind are limited to the forests surrounding me yet I am still awed by its primal power, the massive force that wages war upon the tree tops above.

As a gust blows through the woods you can hear its advance in a light breeze that sets the leaves to chiming as bells announcing the approaching wind. When the full force of the air sweeps through, the tree branches above sound as though they are locked in battle with each other; forever vying for space to sway against the mighty force threatening to topple them down.

The clacking sound of the tops bashing together can be very loud at times and spur a moment of fright as I brace for the impact of the defeated trees lost branches. Sometimes it is only a small twig which smacks with the sound of a larger impact upon my tarps. At other times you can hear a large crack followed by a thump in the woods nearby as a much bigger piece of wood has fallen from the sky.

Yesterday we had a small branch come ripping through our tarps after a large gust tore it from one of the alder trees standing watch over our camp.

<img src="http://img39.imageshack.us/img39/7510/branchthroughtarps.jpg" alt="Alder branch through tarps." />

In wind storms such as this, I am constantly reminded that even larger things have the possibility of also falling upon us, yet I can not move as there is no place better suited for our needs while living life from this tent.

Last winter, a large and outwardly healthy limb fell from a maple near our cook tarp. The branch is at least nine inches in diameter and broke in half upon the old chicken coop that sits nearby. I was outside and watched it fall, sure the coop would be the loser and crumple from the thirty foot long tree limb that was quickly descending towards it.

Both Jeremy and I stood in awe to the fortitude of that old coop, before turning and looking at our plastic tarps which cover a fragile tent. We couldn't help but picture what would have been if the branch had grown out of the tree in a slightly different direction.

<img src="http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/2029/branchonchickencoop2.jpg" alt="Maple limb broken on chicken coop." />

It is this maple limb which has haunted me in every wind storm since. I can easily look out the door of my tent as I write this and see the branch where it still sits resting against the roof of the chicken coop. A reminder that there are forces much greater than me at work in these woods.

I fear someday that I may be the unknowing contestant in a mighty duel with an even mightier tree. And I know that my frail body is no match for the strength and weight of the wooden sword that will come down upon me.


Yes the 'widowmakers' are of the scariest aspects of living in the wilderness. I have thought about them as well in a storm as one hears the huge limbs crashing down. An unsettling feeling for sure! And what a beautiful photograph and a beautiful area that is. Such harshness and such beauty...

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