The Big Blow of July 2 divided our town, and our region.
The division was between the affected and the non-affected. If you lost one tree or many, or if you came to the rescue of others who did, you were affected by the Big Blow. In the days that followed, we all exchanged storm stories. Where were you? How was it at your place? And we all said, "What a blessing that no lives were lost."
Now, more than a month later, the lessons linger. Yes, even at the age of 76, there were lessons for me to learn. The main one is about gratitude.
It is at the core of our being if we're to make it through this life. I am grateful for people who insisted that I call on others for help, and I am grateful for all who did help.
Yes, I was one of the affected. Dozens of trees snapped or were bent by strong winds, both here at my house and at the lake cabin I share with my sister. I'm grateful for my daughter, who huddled in the basementless cabin, hearing Norway pines crash all around.
She was the one who called the logger to do the essential first work and then stuck with it through the clean-up. And she was the one who stayed cheerful throughout.
I have a renewed gratitude for strong-backed young men. Guys who know about chain saws and chipping and big pieces of equipment in which they've made major investments.
Now, maybe knowing how to deal with downed trees is a family thing, handed down, the fathers to the sons. Maybe they went to a school to learn how to handle the wreckage. However the knowledge came to them, I'm grateful.
There are so many folks, and so much knowledge in the world, to be grateful for. A few days after the Big Blow, road workers completed the repaving and striping of a road I take to town. They worked in the hot summer sun. I'm grateful.
Every morning, surgeons and nurses don their scrubs and walk into operating rooms where they use their skill and knowledge to save or extend another person's life. Teachers will soon be back in the classroom sharing knowledge, bringing kids to adulthood as literate, intelligent beings. I'm grateful for them.
Today a pastor and a funeral director both prepare to lead a congregation in a final farewell to another human being, old or young. Moms and dads go to work to provide a roof over their heads and food for the table for their families.
Folks running for office face another day of convincing voters that they're the right man or woman for the job. And judges get out of bed in the morning knowing that the decisions they make, and the sentences they hand down, affect both the person in front of them, and so many others.
The list goes on. The practice of each night writing down three things that you're grateful is an ancient idea. It's natural to focus on the things that go wrong and even to ask, "How can I make things better?" But simply being grateful for the good that comes into our lives each day is important to our health and well-being.
The Big Blow brought many lessons. But for me, gratitude is at the top of the list.