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In the wake of the storm (08/15/2010)
By Janet Lewis Burns
When you find that all the world around you is spinning out of control, take a breather, find a quiet place somewhere within the harmony of nature, where you can clear your head, and remind yourself of all that you have to be thankful for.

I am terrified being in our camper during severe wind and rainstorms, which have been frequent this season. Thankfully we missed out on the very worst one on July 27th!

Pat and I received a disturbing phone call that evening, from one of the friends we camp with up north. A tornado had just roared through our resort! Shock! Fear! Relief. Anxiety! They told us our place was unscathed. Still, worries fill the mind. You have to see to believe.

The day of our return was picture perfect. As we drove over the bridge, Lake Ojaski glistened in its calmness, as though rejoicing the return of pleasant skies. Contented waters seemed to wink, unruffled by clean-up activities all around them. Fishing boats bobbed playfully against a tree-woven horizon.

As we drove into Oak Grove, however, a rush of chaotic activity, and loud power saws pierced through ordinarily whispering pines and muted voices of families making happy memories. Our get-away sanctuary had been invaded by the fury and power of Mother Nature, putting us humans at her mercy and in our place.

There is the abrupt realization that no man could have stopped or diverted this act of nature. I donít believe that God is lashing out at individuals to punish them for bad behavior by sending this horrific storm. The laws of nature are beyond human comprehension. Storms of life canít be prevented, but rather than blame God, one can call upon Him for strength, perseverance, and healing.

How could something so flawlessly pleasing to the sight, and serene one minute, turn violent and ravaging in a blink of an eye? Fear builds with the intensity of the unknown. As we slowly drove up the driveway to our camper, there were some surprises! Our camper appeared to be unharmed, with sticks and leaves strewn everywhere.

A tree had fallen on our neighborís camper, destroying it. A car sitting there was also smashed. Ironically, there were no other casualties. The cabins along the water, above the pier, received minor damage. Not one boat was hit. If it had been a ground wind most of the campers would have been taken out.

Our resort owner estimates that 90 of the ancient, towering, white oak trees were destroyed by the storm. Ironically, with no time to seek refuge, no one was hurt. All the residents worked diligently to remove the debris and to wash all the campers. It was heartwarming to see the younger guys helping out the seniors to spiffy up.

A resourceful mother cat put a heartwarming twist to the story. She had been spotted carrying each of her four newborn kitties, one at a time, from a place she must have felt was unsafe, to the metal skeleton of the destroyed camper. As someone peered into the gaping door, her big cat eyes shone through the darkness. Thankfully, each kitten got a good home.

Not a thing was altered inside our camper. I marveled how the dainty teacups along a narrow ledge were still in place. A ceramic frog on the railing was still sitting there and our wind chimes were intact. Our three Native American mascots appeared to have held down the fort. We were very thankful.

Slowly but surely, all remnants of the storm began to disappear. The empty spaces where giant trees once swayed will be a reminder of the tornado of 2010 to those who where there.

As planned, Kelly and our two granddaughters spent the weekend with us at Chetek. Gliding through shimmering waters at twilight, catching the wake of other boats, and feeling the damp spray of lakeís essence across our faces, we were restored...we had each other. All is well with the world.

Janet Burns always returns to her home in Lewiston. She can be reached at



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