March roared in like a lion here in North Carolina, or at least February went out like one. The winds blustered fiercely and the rains pounded horizontally for about 15 minutes on Monday. Never in my life have I seen trees bend quite like they did. After the gale calmed down, we found that a third of our front-yard tree had snapped off. Several roof shingles and heavy porch furniture were flung all over the yard as though weightless. Still, we thought it was just an intense thunderstorm until we saw houses on our little street featured on the Charlotte news that night. It seems that our neighborhood, hit especially hard, is situated directly on the straight path that the winds followed as they made their way across our state.
The next day, as I attempted in vain to do some writing work, seated at my desk near the front door (making it impossible to pretend I’m not home), a steady parade of tree removal and roof repair men came, eager for work. We hired the guy who said he’d do it for $10 cheaper than the lowest quote. I heard the terms “mild tornado” and “straight-line winds” batted around, with people swearing they saw cone-shaped winds and birds being lifted straight up in the sky. Someone even told me he saw a cow flying through the air, waiting for my “Really?” before admitting it was a joke.
I’m still not sure what kind of storm we had, but I do know that spring has come early here. My intention was to convalesce from my recent surgery during the last of the cold, snowy winter weeks, but instead the days have been beautiful, unseasonably warm and sunny. The early flowers (and my allergies) are already in full bloom. Flowers are a good omen for March 1st, my favorite day in Romania, called Martisor. Little March Day is a celebration of all that is beautiful – spring and love and friendship. We can all use a little more of that. But no more tornadoes.