A Theory Of Trees And WindPosted: December 5, 2014
Friday night we had a little light snow and ice. It started as rain, and as the temps dropped, it began to coat the woods with a thin, but apparently heavy, layer. Saturday morning, we woke to what looked like a dusting of snow–just enough to reflect the muted light and lift our spirits with its brightness.
Then the wind started. Not a serious storm, perhaps 30 kts with a few gusts a little higher. Nothing I’d ever worry about. But it was blowing out of the north, something we rarely experience here. Usually, if it’s going to blow at all, it’s a south or west wind. Mostly south.
So we were surprised by the sudden splintering sound from the woods out front, and then a ground-shaking thud of a massive tree hitting the ground. It shook the house so hard Weston was knocked off his perch on the couch. When I went out to see what had happened, our neighbors asked if we felt “the earthquake.”
We didn’t have enough ice to make a huge difference, and a 30 kt wind doesn’t normally do much, either. But trees came down all over the Island. So here’s my theory: Our trees are, throughout their lives, stressed by wind from the south, so they build grain and root systems to protect against this directional wind, much the way humans gain specific muscle from action that puts a strain on the body. And when the wind comes from an unusual direction, they aren’t built to withstand it. Add a little ice and BOOM!
I have no idea if there’s any truth to the theory, but I’m going with it. Bad new is that we didn’t have power for a couple of days and internet access wasn’t up until this morning. Thus the lack of blog updates this week. Good news? Fresh supply of firewood for next winter, delivered directly to our front yard. Time to break out the saw.