Only One Way to Spell Recovery ?

I’m in the back garden today, shuffling about in what, I sincerely hope, is the aftermath of the cold/stroke ‘flu I’ve been fighting weakly against for more than six days. Eventually, as if not wanting to acknowledge a marvellous holiday is over I’ve managed to put a suitcase back into the roof: one of the two we took on our “leaf peeper” tour of New England.
While un-packing and drooling over the leaflets, maps and odds and sods I invariably collect (like some kind of demented magpie) , I came across the fridge magnet/emergency notice I was fascinated by in Vermont. They were “please take one” reminders in a tourist information office (but please do not ask which one … OK?). I made, at the time, no connection between the “unusual token/souvenir”, the weather in the North-Eastern states of the good ol’ U.S. of A. and what just happened here: the storm we have, apparently named St Jude.
On the tour bus we were regaled with stories of how the roads we were now gaily zooming along had been ripped up by floodwaters following a tornado surge and violent heavy rains some years ago. I was trying to imagine my own reaction if I had been on a coach that could, simply not get, to where the itinerary had said it would go. Contractors were still repairing roads and bridges. A large number of the “covered bridges” that this part of the world is famous for were washed away,; along, of course with entire towns, and lives. Again we passed these “ghost towns” on the sides of roads.
A couple of days ago we had national weather forecasts announcing that a heavy storm would be hitting the south west of great Britain on Sunday night/Monday morning. It was going to pass through – winds of up to 90 miles per hour – and into the North Sea, via all points in between, including the Midlands. With some trepidation (greenhouses, trees and roof tiles) we awaited the drama that would keep us awake. In fact in this part of the world there was very little. Strong winds stirred the trees, the Lombardy poplars at the edge of the field bent about a bit. Meanwhile, in the south, trees were, predictably up-rooted, traffic seriously disrupted … and, at the last count four people last their lives.
Not anywhere near as whole sale as weather storms can be “across the pond”, but certainly worthy of note and families are affected by single deaths, not mass counts. My heart is with those who have lost someone in this storm – of course.
DSC01922But this morning. I am recovering. The country is recovering. There is the snarl and whine of a chainsaw somewhere in the distance and closer at hand a bumble bee is pushing hard into the core of a nasturtium seeking sustenance; and I am doing something I always regarded as totally twee and, frankly un-necessary; Raking the leaves from the lawn. The lawn needs mowing. The compost heap up at the plot will benefit from the cuttings – and the leaf pile will be added to; eventually becoming useful soil conditioner.
DSC01925Rowan berries are spread across the green blanket of the lawn, the paths, the still-outside garden furniture. Whether the berries have been blown down or fell as a result of blackbird and song thrush activity is a different question. A few windfall Conference pears and the last of the apples are strewn about. But there always seem to be a few more apples: how does that work?
Closer to the house sparrows are the beneficiaries of the storm. They leap and squabble over scraps of dust and moss on the patio, characteristically ebullient.
The sun is low in the sky, its light is welcome but weak … and maybe just a little guilty.


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