Mother Natures’ Trick or Treat

Today is Halloween. It’s actually “All Hallows’ Eve,” the day before “All Saints’ Day” or “All Hollows’ Day” when Catholics honor the saints. The traditions surrounding “All Hallows’ Eve” or “Halloween” come from old Celtic religions which believed that the dead come out on this day before returning to eternity. There is a good link to give you more history on this but this post is not really about all this.

My back yard

Mother Nature played a trick on those of us who live in the northeast section of the country. Here in eastern Pennsylvania, we received 7 inches of very heavy, wet snow this past weekend. That doesn’t happen here in October. All the records were broken for early snow and total amount. Before those of you who live in warm climates go, “ah, that must be so pretty” let me tell you that thought lasted for a nanosecond.  I almost cried when I saw the snow on my tropical water-lily. Guess that’s the end of that for the season.

The area where I live has had a mild fall. Our leaves have not yet peaked with the full beautiful colors of fall. That means all the leaves (or almost all) are still on the trees. The leaves collect heavy snow and branches break under the weight. It can be devastating.

It snowed Saturday. Sunday I ventured out. I was all teary and heartbroken to see some larger branches broken on a few of our trees. Our beautiful clump maple which was just about in full red color lost a major limb. Some weaker shrubs were squashed. The winter holly which was beautiful with berries for the first time in eight years…smashed!

The beloved husband and I spent most of Sunday afternoon (which was 40 degrees, sunny and pleasant) cleaning snow off of things, cutting off broken branches and generally cleaning up the mess. Some of the shrubs responded well. I swear the boxwoods were so grateful to have the heavy stuff removed that they smacked me in the face after I cleaned off the snow. Others were still bent over and I only hope they will straighten out as they reach for the sun again .

Damage in an adjoining neighborhood

True to my nature, after a couple of hours of work, I felt I deserved a mocha latte so I ventured out for the first time after the storm. What I saw was disheartening – huge limbs down, beautiful trees broken apart like pieces of Legos lying on the ground. Maples and Bradford pear trees took the biggest hit but there were all kinds of trees that were down. This picture doesn’t capture the destruction caused by the storm.

Tree trimming trucks were out and about and the power, cable and telephone company personnel were at work. Police and fire trucks were out as power was off in some areas; lines were down; trees blocked some roads and there were a few fender benders. There was a lot of activity going on all over. There will be more to come as landscapers are engaged to fix things and arborists look at the safety of damaged trees. It struck me that it’s part of the cycle of life and death providing opportunity and creating change. (Anyone who plants a Bradford pear tree these days should have their head examined!) 

Courtesy of Alice Popkorn via Flickr

Somehow, that just doesn’t comfort me as I look at the damage to my beautiful maple tree.

Happy Halloween from Mother Nature!

9 thoughts on “Mother Natures’ Trick or Treat

  1. Tree damage is always disheartening. What is it about trees? They speak to something important within us. On that day, I think their message was “Stop the darn snow. We can’t take it anymore.” I was saying that too but for different reasons!


  2. All of the downed trees make me very sad! We were w/o power for 12 hrs. My parents (and work) were w/o for 2+ days, and my ILs (in-laws) are STILL w/o – 5 days & counting!!! Luckily they have a wood stove but they have no running water (they have a well). I just hope this storm isn’t a sign of whats to come this winter!!!


  3. I’m sad to hear that damage has been so vast in your area. It takes years to grow those lovely precious trees and shrubs. I hope no humans were harmed? Wishing you and your vicinity a rapid recovery.


  4. I too took a big hit this weekend. We had 10 inches of snow and lost a 30 ft Bradford Pear in the middle of our front lawn. One branch remains standing tall while all the others are lying beneath. Two trees on our property dividing line lost major branches and our Japanese maple lost a few minor branches. Our arbovite line took a big hit also but hopefully will survive. My husband and I were out on Saturday trying to help many of the trees by removing as much snow as possible. It helped the weeping cherry and crabapple and we’re hoping the arbovite line. Fortunately we have electric unlike so many others struggling for days and possibily many more days to come. Happy Halloween everyone!!


  5. I too am so sadden to see the devestation – our Magnolia tree is damaged beyond help and will probably be cut down totally, however we do have electricity which I know many do not. Kate – any problems getting your Mocha?


    • Our Magnolia sustained damage too. You would think it would be the perimeter branches that break. For our damage, it was always the branch in the middle of the tree. I am hoping it comes back together. As for the mocha — yes, my home Starbucks was powerless so I had to go across town. It still is powerless — 48 hours and counting! I am very grateful to have electricity.


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