I think like most people before this month I had never heard of a Derecho. If you mentioned mentioned a Derecho I would have probably thought it was a spicy new tortilla chip, "Can you please hand me some more Derechoes?" But after seeing the devastation of this "land hurricane" to the beautiful plaines of Iowa I don't ever want to hear of it again. We were quite fortunate at our house, but many around the state and other places in the midwest were not. The attached video is just a glimpse of the utter devastation to houses, businesses, crops and trees. All of these things are intertwined with our lives. Even so, the actions I witnessed to the aftermath are a remarkable lesson in resilience.
Yes, there was an initial time of sadness, being overwhelmed, frustrated and "really one more thing God!" But after these moments there is a tipping point, you either give up or decide, "I'm going to roll my sleeves up and get to work."
Initially I heard stories that in Cedar Rapids individuals immediately following the storm walked around in a daze mumbling to themselves. But, the stories didn't stay there, instead they changed to neighbors helping neighbors, strangers with chainsaws walking house to house, and trucks from out of state rolling in to restore power. My brother-in-law from Grinnell, Iowa lost a number of trees, with one falling on the corner of his house. My nephew, a senior football player at Grinnell High School enlisted a number of his teammates to help but there was still a lot to do. The following day having heard of the work to be done in Grinnell the Harlan High School football team showed up at my brother-in-laws house ready to work. Grinnell and Harlan will soon play each other on the gridiron, but that day they were teammates working to clear the trees.
Clearing trees is hard work. I think of my friends in Marshalltown, Iowa who were still recovering from a traumatic tornado just two years ago. There is so much work to be done. One report in Marshalltown stated that if the trees weren't taken by the tornado they were taken this time by the Derecho. Even when the trees are finally removed will Marshalltown look the same? Not in my lifetime, but I am confident that the work being done now, the seeds being planted will lead to growth for a lifetime and beyond.
There is a time for sadness, anger and devastation in life. We need to grieve, but at some point we've got a decision to make; do we give up or do we start "clearing the trees"? Thank you to the Harlan football team and everyone else who has helped. And to all of you who have looked devastation in the eye and chosen to clear the trees, your resilience is an inspiration.
Let's clear the trees,
Troy Vande Lune
Big Rock Leader