From an e-mail that I received from Dottye tonight:

“However, I do have some sad news. For those of you who were here at the farm in April, you will remember the 200-year-old oak tree in front of the old store and in our side yard. The wind storm on early Saturday morning took down over half of it! Sad. sad. sad.

The old oak tree

Now the 1/3 left standing looks precarious (and is hanging directly over the old store). Fortunately, the massive tree that fell landed just right so there was no structural damage to the tobacco barn or the store or to the road. BUT, we are going to have to ask the county forester to come out and see what we must do to save the rest of the tree. It might be impossible to do that, in which case we will have to pay someone big bucks to come take down the rest of the tree. I don’t even want to think about that scenario. for a lot of reasons!”

Each of us experienced our own terrible windstorm and part of us was torn away. Sad. Sad. Sad. We stood, very precariously, hanging directly over the rest of our families. Had we fallen, they would have been torn apart. I don’t know who the ‘county forester’ was in our situation, but I wonder if he or she thought each of us might be impossible to save.

Whatever the ‘county forester’ thought, we found one another. Individually we were drooped, wilted, dying. But we leaned on one another and held one another up until our strength returned and new growth sprouted again. We’ll never be the same, but sharing our stories will keep the memories of that beautiful whole tree alive forever.

What if we had not found one another? I don’t even want to think about that scenario. For a lot of reasons.

~Kathy Shoaf