Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Destruction: Our Civil War Oak Tree

Matt and I went to bed Saturday night talking about how the local and national 24-hour news generating machine had possibly over-hyped Hurricane Irene.

I woke up at 3:45 to the noise of the 150+ year old post oak that was the centerpiece of our backyard starting to fall down.

Matt woke up to me screaming as I realized what was happening.

In slow motion, with an enormous creaking noise, the whole tree snapped and fell, hitting mostly the laundry room on the corner of our house and our neighbor's two vehicles, with some other scattered damage in its wake.

It could have been so much worse. Last night we walked around the neighborhood and visited a house where a huge section of the second floor, including the bedroom, was totally obliterated by a tree less than half the size of ours. Miraculously the person who normally would have been sleeping in the now-flattened bed was on the first floor of her house, unable to sleep in the storm.

Still, we will miss this tree -- and all the critters who visited it and lived in it.

I found a couple of pictures we had of the tree in all its glory and tried to match them up with some pictures of the aftermath, but it's hard to convey even in pictures the magnitude of the destruction. (For a sense of scale, notice tiny me in the last picture.)


Denise said...

I am so sorry that this has happened to you, but very glad that none of you were hurt. That was a beautiful old tree, I' m sure you were saddened to see it go. At the same time it must have been a horrifying moment when you knew it was coming down..

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the story and pictures.

Maria said...

How very sad - the pictures are heartbreaking. Thank goodness no one was hurt. I can't imagine what the sound must have been like.

Wishing you both a more peaceful week after the rollercoaster of a week we just had. Thank you for all the great information you share with us on your blog.

Galia said...

M & E -- What a shock...and how incredibly frightening. Of course, grateful you and others around are safe. It'll take a long time to adjust to your new landscape, I imagine.

Elizabeth | The Natural Capital said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words here and on Facebook. For anyone who's curious we've posted more pictures here:

Reya Mellicker said...

What a magnificent tree! There are a lot of old trees in DC. Sometimes, they have to go. It's always heartbreaking, though.

Cyndy said...

So sorry this happened - both the loss of the tree and the damage to the house. Good luck with everything.

Elizabeth | The Natural Capital said...

Thanks. I keep telling people, first of all I'm glad to be alive. Second of all, I'm devastated about the tree. The house, we can fix.

Though meeting with contractors and waiting for insurance adjusters isn't particularly fun, the first two are a totally different order of magnitude.

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