Wednesday was a pretty special day as we celebrated Veteran's Day. The weather wasn't great because a storm was coming. As the day wore on, a massive storm front crawled into town. And then without warning, a horrendous wind slammed the neighborhood. Our gigantic Waste Management garbage can was blowing down the street as if it were a feather on the wind. All of the furniture and grill on our back deck slid to one side and haphazardly piled itself into a mangled mess. It was dark, the rain was coming down sideways and then after two minutes it was gone. It was as if God sneezed and then all was calm. The next morning I awoke for work and assessed the damage. The wind had ripped off roughly 30 feet of downspout off the house, our deck furniture pillows were scattered across the lawn along with a few other items. It wasn't too bad and certainly survivable. It wasn't until I was in my way to work when my wife texted me to ask if I'd seen the damage in the backyard. She sent me a photo. In that photo was an image of a large tree near the pond laying on its side. I was surprised I didn't see it when I was conducting my inspection. How could I have missed the gigantic tree laying sideways across the pond. I guess I didn't believe the strength of the presumed microburst could bring such an object to its knees.
Fast forward to last night....when the entire nation was consumed by the nightly news, Twitter feeds and Facebook posts....all talking about the tragic events taking place in Paris, France. The sheer shock, surprise, carnage and death that left its historic mark on an otherwise beautiful day in Paris. The loss suffered at the hands of cowards and pure evil cannot be compared to anything else. Each of these events affect the human race in its own form and psychological fashion. It certainly made me forget the minuscule loss of things that are replaceable from the minor weather event we faced.
I'm not sure what it is about the tree just laying there near the pond that prompted me to write. Maybe it represents to me the loss of life, the hurt and anguish that Parisians must feel due to last nights attack. Maybe it's signaling to me a future rebirth but right now it's time to grieve. I'll be a little unhappy when they remove it for good, but I'm filled with sorrow for what our French friends are dealing with right now. As someone who has served alongside French soldiers as I airlifted them into battle, refueled their airplanes or shared a meal. I can tell you the French are extremely resilient, proud, kind and would give you the shirt off their backs. It's time to stand strong with our allies, comfort them in their time of grief and let them know that the future is bright. The loss of life cannot be replaced but if I know the French they will carry on even stronger than ever. Vive La France....we got your back!