The Mailbox is Still Standing

Elle and I roasted marshmallows on the porch over the open flame of our emergency candle and enjoyed s’mores before bed. Then she camped out on the floor next to me in the front room. There is a particular dead tree that always threatens to fall into my bedroom during tropical storms. I thought pretending to have a campout with the kiddo would be more fun than dodging toppling trees and flying limbs.

After a post-storm inspection of the house and the yard, it turns out the questionable dead tree that hovers over my bedroom is actually being held upright by a tangle of vines. *Gulp*

Tropical Storm Beryl made landfall in the middle of the night. Nighttime cyclones are always the worst. As I was telling Matt, a seasoned resident of Tornado Alley, it is difficult to tell the difference between a wind gust and a tornado being born directly over your house. Also, because I’m terribly paranoid and easily spooked when wind is involved, every blustery wind, especially at night, is a tornado.

But with the morning light comes a telling story of how bad (or imagined) things really were over the course of a rousing tropical storm. I heard power boxes explode and trees thump rather loudly as they hit the ground, but things went rather well, overall. There are the usual limbs and fence panels taken out of place by the high winds, and expected flooding in Riverside and San Marco, but nobody in my neighborhood lost a roof, a car, or their life. We fared rather nicely, I’d say.

In keeping with my family’s tradition, Elle was sent outside for a photograph in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Beryl.  The 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons were much livelier and left more of a debris path with which I could use as her photo op backdrop. Tiny Elle was photographed in front of the pile of trees and wood beams holding signs declaring “Hurricane Charley” or “Hurricane Jeanne” or the name of whichever storm had tormented us for that 36-hour period.

The last storm worthy of a photograph was 2008’s Tropical Storm Fay during which my neighbor’s tree had to be hurriedly pulled down by the power of bungee cords and pickup trucks when the eye passed over us. They couldn’t risk leaving it up when the eyewall came pounding through in the opposite direction or the massive tree could have fallen directly into their house.

TS Fay

Tropical Storm Fay 2008

After posting that picture on Facebook recently, I was asked to photograph Elle again in the same spot after Tropical Storm Beryl passed by, just so we could all get an idea of how much she has grown. Four years is a long time. Elle is still as hammy-for-the-camera  as ever, but I can’t believe how much taller she really has become! Oh, and the neighbor’s yard looks quite lovely, too.

Tropical Storm Beryl

Tropical Storm Beryl 2012


About Dena

I'm a New Hampshirite by way of suburban Cleveland, by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of home and place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
This entry was posted in community, Florida, Jacksonville, kids, nature, neighbors, outdoors, the kid, trees and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Mailbox is Still Standing

  1. Lee I says:

    She’s turning into a young lady! I’m glad you came through the tropical storm in good shape.

    I know that fear of tornados … I lived in Ohio during my college and post college years and the threat terrified me. I’ve been saddened and frightened at the massive, destructive tornados the past couple of years, hitting in “wrong” seasons and “wrong” places. We have other threats here in California, the worst in my neighborhood being forest fire. Summer is tense. I’m out of most earthquake zones.

    • Dena says:

      I might soon be moving to Oklahoma City – talk about being terrified of tornadoes! Ha. I grew up in Upper Michigan and was always aware of forest fires (only had to be evacuated once). Blizzards, forest fires, and hurricanes are my only experiences in natural disasters. Though my fiancé has a basement…it’ll be my new happy place if the move to OKC actually happens!

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