Last night a terrific storm hit us. We live at the foot of the Jura mountains and when the sun sets behind them – which is very quick and abrupt – the temperature drops a few degrees instantaneously and causes a massive downdraft as cold air rushes in to fill the valley. When that happens, I am running around the garden collecting chairs and a barbeque that decide to throw a party of their own.
Not so yesterday – I had to let them party as it was getting too dangerous to deal with. The wind was so strong that one of the 10 meter tall pine trees inclined ominously with its laden branches flailing behind as if it is running away from the spot it had happily rooted 20 years before. Nature knows when your time has come and with a silent crash, outdone by the deafening storm, the pine tree laid down in defeat. On its way down, it took out a smaller willow on the basis that “if I go; you go”. Fortunately it missed the hedge and the neighbour’s house.
Let’s skip the part where I went out to buy a chainsaw this morning and will be chopping up this arborestrial carcass and restore order as if nothing happened.
The death of this tree is the start of a new world.
Even in the darkness of the storm, the garden lit up as light that had been previously blocked out came trickling in and even lit up my living room. It felt like a revelation. Never in times past had evening light penetrated here. We were used to moving our loungers around the corner to catch some sun but it was immediately clear where we would be sipping cool drinks from now on.
My mind’s eye could see the space cleared from the debris and discovered a new continent. The footprint of this tree was a majestic 25 square meters. 25 square meters! That is 5 times the garden I once had. This is space for a bench and a pond or a sculpture. A shed or a greenhouse. Hell, an apartment or a water tower. An Eiffel tower. Eiffel 2.0: France’s next destination.
Where once presided pine, I am now king. I reclaim this land and plant my flag. Aside from feeling a little shell shocked, I am inspired with the opportunity of new space. Perhaps I should write a new creation story.
In the beginning the earth was formless and empty.