The winds of change

Storm clouds over the Blue Ridge Parkway

Heavy rain continues to fall in Houston, Texas, this morning and floodwaters rise even more on what is considered the monster storm of all time in Texas and perhaps America.

With the death toll at 10 and expected to rise even more, Hurricane Harvey shows what Mother Nature can do and so little that mortal human can manage to fight back.

The ravages of our climate have become more rule than exception in recent years and, if forecasts are correct, will become more of the norm.  Even an urban area like Houston, the fourth largest city in America, could do little with a massive storm that kills at least 10 and leaves 40,000 or more trying to survive in makeshift shelters.

While those of us who live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia have not suffered damage of such a monumental scale of what Houston now struggles to fight, we too see weather conditions that have left homes and roads flooded, buildings destroyed by tornadoes and thousands of homes darkened from power disruptions.

High winds strike our area regularly, snapping trees in two, sending the top halves plummeting into the earth like spears, downing others and snapping power lines.  Flash floods have stranded residents of homes and drivers of cars.  Tornadoes struck Pulaski, ripping homes apart and cutting a swath over Draper Mountain and wiping out a large truck stop and scattering tractor trailers like tinker toys.

People died in those storms.  Others lost homes and businesses.

Pastor Jeff Dalton and I were on our motorcycles, returning home from visiting the Friday night music in Floyd, when we ran into the derecho that brought gushes of high winds that ripped roofs off businesses, brought down signs and trees and wiped out power to much of Floyd County not that long ago.

We dodged large branches and debris that swept across the roads.  A tree fell on U.S. 221 north of Great Oaks Country Club and, unable to stop, I held on and ran over the top of it with my Harley and, somehow, stayed upright and managed to make it the remaining two-and-half miles home.

Such storms warn us that climate change is all-too-real in a world that pumps carbon and toxic chemicals into the air and into our water, destroying a balance of nature that is delicate.

Call it the winds of change.

They aren’t just coming.  They are already here.


© 2004-2021 Blue Ridge Muse

© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse