Derecho: a line of intense, widespread, and fast-moving windstorms and sometimes thunderstorms that moves across a great distance and is characterized by damaging winds.
Last Monday, August 10, we had this derecho storm, with hurricane-like winds, tear through our state. Forecasters warned us earlier that we would have some severe weather, but I don’t think anyone had any idea of the magnitude of this storm. There was no way to prepare. Many of us didn’t even head to our basements because the tornado sirens weren’t going off because technically there wasn’t a tornado. But the damage left behind sure felt like one.
It only lasted for about 45 minutes to an hour, but it felt like a lifetime and by the time it was done, our power was off, our neighbor’s tree was on top of our garage and covering most of our backyard and on it’s way down, the tree wiped out our fence.
It was terrifying, but as I’ve said from the beginning, it could have been so much worse. Our house is intact. No one was hurt. For so many Iowans, that’s not the case. Their homes were damaged or destroyed. People went days without power and cell phone service (some people STILL don’t have power restored.) Several people lost their lives. Recovery from this will take a long time, and all of this in the middle of a continuing pandemic.
I’ve tried to feel grateful and blessed, but every time I look out the window and see the mess, I just want to cry. I feel guilty for feeling this way. It’s not the end of the world, and it will get fixed. But it won’t be the same. That large, beautiful tree provided shade for us. It provided a home for so much wildlife. Our backyard paradise, a sanctuary for us during the years, is gone. The quarantine and social distancing wasn’t a huge problem for us because we LOVED our backyard. We would spend all of our free time outside enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. The dogs would run around happily in the large fenced-in yard. We had no need for a vacation or get-away because we were happy and content right where we were.
Slowly we are cleaning up the damage. My husband, especially, has been trying to remove what he can safely. We had a construction crew remove the tree from the garage the day after the storm because we were worried the weight of the tree would result in the garage collapsing. Here is the progress:
Photo on the left is the day of the storm; the photo on the right was several days after clean-up efforts. We still have a huge part of the tree taking up much of the backyard. It’s scheduled for removal today. Our insurance adjuster came yesterday and we hope to have the fencing replaced and the garage repaired soon.
Eventually our backyard paradise will be restored. But over the last week, I’ve experienced a kind of mourning for what was lost. And I feel terrible for feeling like this with so many others experiencing worse. However, we all experienced a scary, traumatic experience, and you can’t really compare whose experiences were worse; we can all empathize with each other and provide help and support as much as we can.
Iowans are strong and we’ll get through this together!
May your glass always be full,