Editor’s Note: My family is blessed to be part of a house church that is made up of many precious neighbors. Many of us found ourselves drawn to rural Luther for various reasons and many common ones. Our commonality is the desire to grow: food, children, animals and our faith. Along the way we’ve learned a lot, failed some, developed some grit and leaned on each other – though we could all do that a little more. After last week’s storms, my neighbor sent out this email to our group, and he let me share it with you.
by David Rowe
April 26 started as a beautiful Spring day. The breeze was blowing and ebullient cumulus clouds bubbled and rolled over the powder blue sky. It was a perfect day to be out and working. At the completion of mowing back the tenacious bloom of the earth, the firsts drops of rain began to fall and the skies above began to make a menacing pivot.
By the time a shower and dinner were completed the weather radio was sounding off alerts of severe storms that were brewing to the south and southwest. Turning on the TV to get the local play by play (because we know weather is a BIG sport here) reflectivity and storm trackers were showing rotation in these storms and their predicted path was headed our way. We scrambled our things to our shelter and made ready. All the lights went out about 9:10PM just prior to the EF1 Tornado that came sweeping cross the plains to strike the greater Luther area. With sustained winds between 86 and 110 miles per hour everything in it’s path was put to the structural test. By God’s grace our dwelling sustained no damage, however we did lose the roof of a woodshed and some large branches off of the trees that directly surround us. Though they look a bit awkward now with their missing and shattered limbs their existence will not go to waste. In time they will be cut up and used for firewood and wood chips for compost.
Down at the road the story was a little different. Six Cottonwood trees, some as tall as 100 feet were toppled, falling across the road and blocking vehicle access to the rest of the world. Some weighing in at at nearly 10 tons a piece, these behemoths took direct aim and succesfuly demolished whatever was beneath their landfall.
At their base, these trees were as great as 84 inches around with root balls standing 15 feet in the air. They were part of the majestic beauty of the surrounding area; 80 to 100 year old veterans standing proud over the landscape, their leaves crackling as the wind washed through them, singing their wonderful chorus heard round the hollow. Sadly, everything is but for a time and their song has been silenced.
The next morning after an inch of rain had fallen and the winds had died down an even stranger level of existence arrived. While standing near the mangled gate, chain-saw in hand cutting out an escape route, a 3.8 earthquake went off just outside of a mile of our feet. The ensuing three days produced at least five 3.0’s EQ’s or better within a two-mile radius at their usual depth of 5 kilometers. If we didn’t know who was in control we would really begin to wonder what was going on here.
In closing out this atypical week and the adventure of riding out God’s galloping geosphere, we are thankful. There is much to put back together, reorganize and repair, but life was spared and that is the most precious gift we are loaned in this experience. Please take note of those around you who you love and love you. Bless them and hold them dear. Things can be replaced or repaired, but life is eternal.