Michael & Marianna

We spent three weekends in the Marianna area (primarily in Grand Ridge) helping to clean up a bit. While the effects of Hurricane Michael were impressive, there were some less obvious things that affected me to a greater degree. Top of the list were the thoughts about Christ’s church, previously posted in part.

The “before picture” of Mary’s house lifted from Google Street View.

While working on one property, a neighbor came and asked if we could help clear some of the wreckage around her mother’s home. When we arrived, it was heart breaking. More heart breaking was the look of shock on Mary’s face, and this was three weeks after the storm. The row of trees to the left were nearly all down with one laying across the home. While hauling limbs to the street for pickup, a caravan of cars, trucks, and equipment went by. I waved. They stopped and asked if they could help. The 12 of us were joined by about 20 (I’m guessing about 7 adults, and 13 youth) from the Collegedale Academy, an Adventist prep school associated with the Southern Adventist College (I believe). They had originally planned to work at Mary’s home, but seeing us there, they weren’t sure they would be welcome. Had they not joined us, we would have been forced to leave for the next project long before finishing. What was accomplished was impressive. Yeah, it helped that the Adventists brought a Cat compact track loader with a log grabber. Okay, that’s all background. The great part was being able to stand in a great circle to say a prayer together. Mary cried. I cried. Many of us hugged and parted.

Postlude

I thought it might be useful to add some context and a couple of other impressions.

Mature trees snapped in half.

Curiously, the stands of mature trees, predominantly pines, took a tremendous beating. Sometimes, square mile sections were virtually leveled, having been snapped at about 10 feet off the ground.

Juxtaposed were sections of young pines (10 to 20 feet tall) apparently undamaged. The strong, tall, mature trees had bushy tops, but few to no limbs on the bottom 30 to 50 feet of trunk.

 

Adjacent younger trees in background; more mature, damaged trees seen in foreground.

When I asked one man if the trees sounded like firecrackers going off as they cracked, he responded, “each time one of those trees hit the ground, it sounded [and felt?] like bombs going off.” His home was surrounded by 1000’s of snapped trees. I can’t imagine.

 

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