Like everyone else who lives here in southwest Minnesota, I’ve experienced a wide range of emotions in the last 10 days.
Every time I look out the big picture window at the front of our house, which faces the city’s oldest park, I am overcome with grief for the beautiful trees that were devastated by last week’s ice storm. The tears well up in my eyes as I watch the piles of branches grow and wonder how many of the old-growth trees will still be standing when the cleanup is completed.
And yet, there have been moments of joy in the aftermath of the storm, too. I have rejoiced along with friends and acquaintances who live in the rural areas as they have announced (usually via Facebook) that power has finally been restored to their home.
My heart has swelled with great pride knowing that I live in a community where we can all pull together to overcome what is probably one of the greatest natural disasters — hopefully — we will ever face.
I feel overwhelming gratitude for the heroic efforts of our city and county leaders and workers in how they handled the storm’s onslaught and aftermath.
I must admit, too, to a continuing twinge of panic each time the lights give a little flicker. Because our home is in close to proximity to Worthington’s city center, we rarely lost power — and so have also felt very, very lucky. And yet there’s still the trepidation of it going out for an extended period of time again.
And yes, despite knowing that, in the grand scheme of this storm, we have been inconvenienced very little, I would not be truthful if I didn’t admit to a few moments of annoyance. Like the night the power went off, just as the weather forecast was beginning on the 10 o’clock news. Or each time I have to inch the nose of my car very carefully out of the driveway because I can’t see over the huge pile of branches piled curbside.
Over and over again, I have heard people remark that no lives were lost nor any serious injuries reported as a result of the storm, and I echo those sentiments of relief — yet another emotion.
Of course, in the most recent of days, the scope of our tragedy has been put into perspective by the loss of life and injuries caused by an act of terrorism in Boston. The loss of tree limbs pales in comparison to the loss of human limbs.
Still, there’s no doubt that the ice storm of April 2013 will be one that will go down in the annals of Worthington history as one of its most significant weather-related events. I’m hoping that there will be many footnotes to any such historical accounts, documenting how a community came together to turn tragedy into triumph.
And finally, there is that last emotion — hope. I have hope that spring will eventually arrive, the dead branches will all be taken away by our dedicated city crews and countless arborists who have descended upon our city, and there will be green leaves on the trees that remain.