Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Someone to watch over me

Yesterday evening, a thunderstorm broke out in my part of town.
It wasn’t particularly heavy, and everyone reacted in the usual manner – irritation at having to endure the gridlock, and having to revise dinner plans.

What actually happened was in three different spots, all less than 50 metres from my office, trees well past their first century were uprooted. One of these spots is where I parked my car.

I imagine it takes quite a force to rip a tree with a trunk roughly 5 feet in diameter from the ground. And now that the shock has passed, it strikes me as odd that such a force didn’t suck the cars off the tarmac as well. I got to the car park and I saw my colleague looking like a tree fell on his car.

“You see your car?”
“Better get in there.”
“Where’s yours?”
“Under the tree.”

The radius of the damage was wide enough to do two things: Cover half the car park (it was a big tree) and force me to run a full circle to get around the roots and into the parking lot. That brief sprint was the longest five seconds of my life.

My car was covered in leaves and a long branch had fallen across the hood.
I don’t remember rushing up to the car, but I must have because I was circling it and patting it down like a burning child.

Four cars were crushed beyond repair.
The tree missed my car by less than two feet.

I’m not the religious sort, but I thanked God for saving my car.
A car which over the weekend, I had contemplated selling.
A car which I often park in very spot the tree was uprooted to save it from baking in the sun.
My folks are fairly devout Buddhists. I’m not, but I lit some jos sticks as soon as I got home. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

This morning, the church gates were closed.
The tree has been cut into sections but it’ll take another day or two to clear it.
The only person I saw was the pastor surveying the damage.
I’m wondering: where is his car?

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