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Jun 11, 2020


Spring is notorious(1) for changeable weather. Over the past month that is certainly what we have been experiencing. We have had hot, still days, rainy, cool ones, and even a huge wind storm. It's the latter(2) that is worth writing about because it caused so much destruction! It happened in the evening when I had gone out with my husband to a friend's house. He and his wife happen to live on a hillside that overlooks the town. It is a great spot to sit and enjoy the view while having a beer or a glass of wine. We all knew that a storm had been forecast, so we decided to remain outside for as long as possible to watch it pass over the valley. Normally, here, storms involve thunder and lightening, so that is what we were expecting. As we talked, the wind picked up. It plummeted(3) down the hill, thrashing the trees around, and pounded against the windows. We could see that no one was outside in the valley; that would have been unsafe. And the storm went on and on. We eventually had to move inside as the rain was falling sideways on us, and we got the impression that debris could easily cause an accident. We needed to get out of the way, and into safety. So, we sat inside, next to a wall of windows, looking out onto the hillside. At one point, the scene looked as if we were underwater, the trees and grass waving and shuddering as if ocean waves were overhead pulling at them. After a couple of hours, the storm finished, it had grown dark, and we left. The next morning we were going to Seattle to pick up our oldest son from university, so we got ready to leave. As is my morning routine, I drank my coffee while looking out of the back window into our large garden. I noticed that there were a lot of green leaves from one of the trees all over the grass. That wasn't normal. And as I looked around I was surprised at how bright it was on our north facing deck. And then I saw it. One of our thirty foot trees was completely missing! I ran outside, and there it was, down on the lawn, snapped at the roots, without having caused any damage at all. I was shocked, and impressed! It was an Aspen, which has masses of round leaves that quiver in the wind. It had been dying back for a couple of years; I think this altitude and climate don't suit them actually. They are native to high, cold, dry mountains. My husband and I walked around the fallen tree, amazed at how perfectly it had fallen. "Well," said Tom, "at least that's one tree that I don't have to cut down," he smiled. Ours wasn't the only tree in town that had been blown over; there were many. And for the next few days, workmen all over Wenatchee were busy, cutting up trunks and branches, and hauling everything away. The hole where the roots had snapped has not been filled in yet. In fact, when I first found the tree down, I reached in the hole to examine the roots, many of which were rotten; they easily broke just like cork. I thought it quite symbolic of events that are taking place in the world at the moment. If something has rotten foundations, it is just a matter of time until it falls. And its when a particularly strong wind comes, that it will happen.

1. 'Notorious' means 'known for', it has a connotation of evil or bad character.

a. He was notorious for exaggeration; you could never believe everything he said.

b. The park is notorious for night time drug deals and other illegal activity.

2. 'The latter' means 'the last mentioned'. It is often used in a sentence with 'the former' (meaning the first mentioned).

a. At the crime scene three people were found: the butler, the cook, and the gardener, the latter being highly suspected of criminal activity.

b. She has a cat and a snake, the latter being the easiest to take care of. 

3. 'To plummet', 'to pound', 'to thrash'. These three verbs are action verbs which denote violence and speed. 'To plummet' really means to fall extremely quickly, often with implied weight. 'To pound' is to beat repeatedly, and 'to thrash' is to attack or shred. 

a. The meteorite plummeted to the earth, making a huge crater in the High School field.

b. The artist pounded on the metal sheet consistently until he had created an even pattern.

c. The dogs escaped and chased each other through the neighbors lilies which they completely thrashed.