Derecho Wind – Mortality Looming


I drove from Wisconsin to West Virginia on Friday to visit my uncle. It seemed like it would be an innocent enough trip – the sun was shining, no storm in sight. On the way through Indiana, however, I should have known something was amiss. The outdoor temperature gauge read 107 degrees F. I hadn’t seen it that high since driving through Death Valley one summer.

I arrived around 6 pm and my uncle, a perpetual worry wart, was wringing his hands and muttering something about being glad I made it through the storm. I assured him the trip was smooth sailing, no worries, but he didn’t seem convinced. We proceeded to make dinner when all of a sudden the sky turned from blue to black in what seemed like seconds. A big burst of wind hit and BAM the first tree cracked and fell over right in front of the house. It was a huge walnut tree. Our view of the front yard, as well as the front door was entirely blocked. A branch nearly plowed through the front window. Siding on the roof truss tore loose and slapped angrily against another window so we made a quick retreat further into the kitchen.

A few minutes later the top of a big poplar tree crashed across the driveway and I realized my new truck was probably crushed under one or both trees. And I didn’t really care. The house sounded like it was being torn apart brick by brick and we had no basement. We both then seemed to go into some kind of automatic mountaineer survival mode – not “survival at all costs” but “fuck this let’s move on with our lives because it may all end very soon”. We broke out the whiskey and plated our food and just let nature take it’s course. It was one the craziest moments I’ve ever shared with another human being.

After the winds died down I went outside to survey the damage. It was pretty extensive. The front roof truss was split, shingles littered the yard, and we would need to break out chain saws to get down the driveway. The trees fell on either side of my truck. If it had been parked 6 inches in either direction it would have been ugly.

As I stood there contemplating the fact that very little had stood between me and getting blown away to oblivion I felt a slight wave of nausea rush over me. I think my decision to transition has made me care more about the time I have left. I’m just now starting to feel at home in my skin and enjoying the company of others in a very different and genuine way. I’m not ready to go now and that attachment to sticking around is both exhilarating and scary as hell.

4 thoughts on “Derecho Wind – Mortality Looming

  1. Glad you and Shelby are okay. So sorry to hear about the damage to his house. What a scary experience! I know what you mean about the exhilarating/scary attachment to sticking around. I’ve felt that way since becoming a mom. It’s interesting that your transition has had this effect on you. I hope you have many more exhilarating moments than scary ones.

  2. I’m so glad you are safe. We’re in an entirely different state and the same storm hit us too. We had a tree hit our roof and it came through into the attic; we had all run to the basement by then. Are you still visiting or have you returned home? If you still have to make the drive back, i hope it is a safe one. I believe there are trees down and still power outages all through WV and Ohio. Take care.

  3. Wow, Tam, what an experience. I’m glad you two are ok, and I’m glad you wrote about it–seems an appropriate time to reflect on how much your life means to you, now more than ever.

    -Eli

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