Without Warning

the forest was suddenly thinned three days ago.  An enormous blow of winds roared through, reached into the trees and took what it wanted, which was some of everything.  Root, limb and branch were tossed and shaken into the slapped and dashed puppetry of a maddened god. Leaves were given what must have been one of the wildest rides of their life. Water - pond, lake or stream - whitecapped and roiled, swirling and feverishly turned dervish. All we could do was watch in wonder and awe as it passed over and through our valley, as it bent every living thing to its willful power.

Afterward, we stumbled through piles of leaf-filled branches and climbed over downed trees, thinking ourselves much like photographs of people sleep-like walking through a seemingly instantly and irredeemably altered landscape.  The silence was profound.  Birds were not singing.  There was no sound of traffic in the distance.  All machinery had come to an absolute stop.  We had entered a newsreel of disaster's aftermath and in that film were cast most fortunately as somewhat dazed survivors: glad to be alive and glad to have a house still standing.