My home is surrounded by trees. Big ones. The kind of trees that squash cars and houses. As Armageddon approached, I watched these trees surrendering to Hurricane Irene, swaying violently in the unrelenting winds. There was a frightening blue glow in the early morning sky. I was powerless against nature's whims.
News coverage of disasters always focuses on the storm's aftereffects. I find it much more terrifying to look up, before any devastation has occurred, and see the potential.
Two days earlier, my daughter stood under these same trees, playing in their protective shade.
As the storm arrived and my fear continued to grow, I thought of my children, tucked safely away down south. I was alone to face this devastating force, but the image of my daughter finding protection under the trees reassured me. Impending disaster can be a source of reflection, and I found myself looking for a greater lesson.
Nature has given us what we have, yet it can take it all away in an instant. What protects us one minute can devastate us without warning. Since nothing in life is predictable, we try desperately to maintain control over everything. The more firmly we squeeze the reins, the more we realize the futility of trying.
As I came to this realization, with the wind screaming and the rain pouring down, I felt suddenly calm. I let go of my absurd attempt to exert control over the uncontrollable, and I saw the beauty around me. Taking my cue from the trees, I surrendered to the inevitable. The magnificence of nature and the power of the earth both humbled and excited me.
I hope I will remember this lesson as I encounter less dramatic, yet equally uncontrollable events in my life. There are great rewards awaiting those of us who dare to let go of the reins and to see where the horse leads us.