By LISA BICKNELL
CV&T News Editor
Dozens of families are reeling from the aftermath of the terrible winds that hit Estill County on Wednesday. I haven’t been able to cover everyone’s stories as well as I would have liked because we’ve been in the midst of a crisis of our own. I do apologize if it seems that I’ve been unconcerned or uninterested.
But I can tell you my own storm story.
Following a particularly stressful Monday and Tuesday here at the newspaper, I was looking forward to piddling around on the farm on Wednesday.
Tuesday evening, I jotted down a list of things to do the next day. With spring on the way and gardening season right around the corner, it wasn’t hard to come up with something to do.
Wednesday morning felt pleasant and warm as I went out to feed the chickens, but I noticed a dark blanket of clouds advancing across the sky. The wind picked up as I strolled around outside, then I saw a white wall of rain heading toward our place from across the creek.
Not wanting to get wet, I ducked in the back door. One of our dogs tried to follow me. He’s never been in the house, so I absent-mindedly noted that he appeared to be developing a fear of storms.
I knew storms were in the forecast, but our weather alert radio was quiet. Still, I prayed that no one would be hurt as the winds grew stronger.
I grabbed my cell phone and headed to the front door. I often do Instagram photo challenges, and my prompt for March 1st was “weather.” The American flag flying in our yard was blowing straight out, so I figured that would make an appropriate photo post.
I snapped a picture of the flag through the glass of the front door a split second before that glass blew out and smacked me square in the face. In the same split second, I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye of the kids’ trampoline being snatched away.
By the time I opened my eyes after the glass hit me, trees were down on our house and all around it.
Stunned, I walked back through the house. It wasn’t until I looked out the window toward our carport that I realized the extent of our damage.
I could barely see the carport for the tree limbs and debris covering the yard.
And so, within a couple of seconds, my to-do list lost all significance. I also had a light-bulb moment. It was foolish of me to think I would have time to get out of the way if the storm hit hard. If I had been in the yard, I could have been squashed like a bug, and I would have never known what hit me. If the house had fallen, I wouldn’t have had time to react.
Since Wednesday morning, we’ve worked nearly non-stop to clean up the mess, assess the damage and start repairs.
Despite the devastation to the landscape of the old homeplace, I know I am fortunate to be alive to tell about it.
The huge tree that split and landed on our house landed just feet from where I was standing. Somehow, the base of it hit the ground first, in such a way to hold most of the weight of the tree. I think that spared the old house, built more than 150 years ago.
For this, I am thankful, of course, and I’m grateful for the mercies of God that spared me, because I was pretty daggone oblivious to any danger.
But this Monday morning, feeling tired and drained, I’m thankful for a whole lot more.
I am thankful for our family and friends. They’ve swarmed in here to help, and the old farm has been busy as a beehive.
At times, there was a half dozen chainsaws going at once, and the sound was music to my ears.
Every day, people have showed up to help without being asked. They’ve worked until dark, or even beyond. Some have risked life and limb crawling around on our steep roof. Some brought rakes and picked up tree limbs. Others brought food and bottled water.
I cannot even imagine what it would be like to have to deal with this mess by ourselves.
Last night before bedtime, my husband and I were talking about how incredibly blessed we are.
With more clarity than ever, it’s obvious that the people in our lives are what matters-not the trees, the buildings, or the to-do list.
Our place has taken a beating from the storm, but I am positive that we couldn’t ask for better families, better neighbors, or better friends.
Thank you seems like such a small thing to say, but I can tell you that it comes from my heart.