Requiem for the trees: October storm, 2010

Upper Peninsula, Michigan The aftermath of the October storm, 2010. 

Time for a body count, to locate the victims of this wild and fierce storm.  Time to see the effects of the high winds which swirled around a massive barometric pressure drop.  Time to see who lived and who died.  Time to mourn our losses.

 Disclaimer.  Warning:  these photos may be graphic.  They may make you cry.  They are not pretty.  Proceed with caution.


They call these "widow-makers". Stand under them or cut them at your own risk.


Much of our country roiled with a wild storm energy the last couple of days.  The barometric pressure dropped to an almost-record low.  Those of us surrounding the low pressure experienced wild winds, rain, snow, tornadoes. 

Many of the folks in the Upper Peninsula lost power as trees crashed on the electric lines.  Weather forecasters predicted waves on Lake Superior to swell from 10-20 feet. 

It was a wild and unpredictable storm.

When the tree topples over with its roots intact

I don’t know if any humans lost their lives during this frenzied storm.  I hope not.

We do know that many of our tree brethren succumbed to the fierce blowing winds which spiked between 30-70 miles per hour. 

Legacy of the wind: shards, splinters

Let us remember the trees today.  Those who fell to the ground.  Those who snapped and splintered and hung precariously in fellow-trees. Those who tumbled over with roots intact.  Those who crashed from sky to earth.  Let us remember them today.

Fallen poplar giant

Dear Trees, so often we take you for granted.  We forget what you do for us, how you help the planet.  You help prevent erosion, holding our soil carefully in your extensive roots. 

You help produce oxygen, the very air we breathe.  You reduce carbon dioxide in the environment.  You moderate ground temperatures. 

Almost like eagle wings uplifted as the tree spirit soars free...

Let’s not forget another important thing you do:  you shine with beauty.  Your leaves flutter in the wind.  You glow with color and originality.  You teach us about the cycle of life.  You show us, again and again, that summer follows spring.  You teach us about releasing the leaves of our challenges.  You teach us about standing strong through the icy winter.

Inner world of tree. Exposed.

Forget us.  The most valuable thing is that you exist.  You are an integral part of the community of our earth. 

Hopeless tangle

I thank you especially because you have given your life for our family so many times.  We burn your wood in our wood stove during the long cold winters.  We cut you, split you, stack you, ignite you.  I murmur thanksgiving and prayers over your body so often.

Thank you, thank you, sacred trees.

I am sorry when you die.  Like the Native Americans, I remember to honor you and to utilize your branches and limbs and trunk with sacred respect.

Behind our house

The winds are quieter now.  The survivors blow gently in the slight breeze.  The Gale of October, 2010, has mostly ended. 

Blessings, dear trees.

We honor your passing, dear trees.  We will not forget you.

**In special memory of the 20-40 trees lost on our 23-acre parcel.**

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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22 Responses to Requiem for the trees: October storm, 2010

  1. holessence says:

    Kathy – As you know, trees are my favorite creatures on this planet. The photos show mass devastation; heart-wrenching to say the least.

    Like you, we heat our home mostly with a woodburning stove, using wood from trees that have died. As a result of this storm, you will have firewood for a very long time, from trees that literally gaves their lives to provide it.

    As you said, “thank you, thank you, sacred trees.”

  2. Susan D says:

    Poignant, piercing photos… the trees are beautiful in their broken-ness, just as we are when life takes windy turns and twists and leaves us looking transformed. We have much in common with trees. Perhaps that’s why we love them so. Thank you for this amazing tribute.

  3. Glad to walk with you through your woods today Kathy – taking count. Popular trees are my favourite tree. They are the ones that grow in great abundance along the river where I grew up. Blessing to the trees and to you.

  4. Colleen says:

    It is heartbreaking in the moment, isn’t it. Especially the sound of their falling.

    When our boys where little we used to go for walks in our forests on Vancouver Island. For a while it was one of their favorite things to do. They were always fascinated with the “log gardens” that were growing on the old and decomposing fallen trees. So rich and lush, the moss was such a vivid green. Everything that grew in the forest was there in miniature. Like fairy gardens. It was such a lovely introduction to the cycles of nature and of life.

    This was a lovely tribute Kathy. The gorgeous moss in your blessings photo brought back these memories. Wishing you many new fairy gardens in your beautiful forest.

  5. Susan Derozier says:

    Kathy – Stunning tribute and heart wrenching pictures. Fighting tears, I can only nod in respect. I have always loved the trees and they have loved me in return. Thank you!

  6. Robin says:

    Beautiful tribute to the trees and their spirits. I was especially touched by “Almost like eagle wings uplifted as the tree spirit soars free…”

  7. John says:

    In the personification of the trees I see these as old friends who lived good lives and were taken by God / Nature. Your documentation and pause of this event speaks to what good custodians you and Barry are of this piece of the planet you have been given to oversee.

  8. OM says:

    Thank you Susan for yours are the only words I can manage to type right now:

    “Stunning tribute and heart wrenching pictures. Fighting tears, I can only nod in respect. ”

    Sacredness. .Yes.

  9. A beautiful requiem, Kathy, and thank goodness you yourself are safe.

    I join you in saying, “Blessings, dear trees”.

  10. Cindy Lou says:

    And I add my blessings also – Namaste, dear trees.

  11. Cait says:

    What a thoughtful and poetic way to honour the fallen trees. Thanks for leading me back here with your kind comment on my post.

  12. Dawn says:

    We only have a bit over an acre, but when a tree has to be cut down I have to leave. I can’t watch. Can’t imagine the heartbreak of losing 20-40 at one time.

    I’m so sorry!

  13. Elisa's Spot says:

    It did make me cry! Some was for joy. I thank you for expressing these words. I am not the only one. Thank you!

  14. Kathy says:

    Thank you all–so much–for your kind words about the trees. It is always hard to lose so many during a windstorm. It felt important to honor them in some way.

  15. KathUsitalo says:

    We lost a few on our lot. The wind reached 74 mph in Naubinway. Beautiful whitecaps on Lake Michigan. Powerful!

  16. Val Erde says:

    reminds me of the 1987 hurricane (some call it the ‘great storm’, but it was more than that) in the UK. My mother and I were sitting at my kitchen table when it started and we watched dustbins and parts of trees levitating rapidly well above grown level and being carried up the street…. our electricity had gone off and we just sat there stunned. The after effects of it continued for years – trees died, wiped out, broken – it was horrible.

    • Kathy says:

      The “Great Storm” sounds like it was an awful storm. It must have been scary for you, as well as stunning you. It takes years to recover from such devestation.

  17. Thank you for such a beautiful tribute to the countless trees lost in such unusually strong storms across our nation, and across the planet. I’ve shared your heartbreak when our own trees have fallen in storms over the last few years. Your last shot of “blessings” is especially beautiful and poignant. May all be well with you, and your forest, WG

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Woodlandgnome. We had another one of those storms on Sunday. Luckily, we didn’t lose quite so many trees. But it is heartbreaking.

      • It is. I mourn for every one which fall, whether in our garden, in the wild, or in someone else’s garden. We saw the terrific destruction from yesterday’s storms and I realize that in the grand scheme of things a tree is so small, and yet it is a symbol for all things lost to senseless destruction. I hope the storms by pass your garden, Kathy, and it is left intact to grow and replace what has been lost.May all be well with you, WG

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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