One of the first things I check when we open the house up in the spring is the anemometer (wind gauge). High winds are a fact of life on the mountain and we all relish thinking of how sturdy Squabetty is given the winds that hit it every year. This year’s high wind speed was 72 m.p.h. That aligns with all the other years, generally within a few mph of that. And while the house stands like a sentinel, strong and secure, it surely creaks and groans with the wind. The tell tale sign of strong winds over the late autumn, winter and early spring are the numbers of snapped trees, and blowdowns. It amazes me every year to find trees, big, healthy trees twisted and snapped off ten feet up the trunk. A sole tree destroyed while its neighbors, young and old, continue their growth skyward. So much depends upon the tree and the direction and speed of the wind. And then there are those totally uprooted, leaving bare the underside of its web of roots and likely stones that had never seen the light of day. The rocky soil, bedrock not too far down, can’t hold on to the spreading roots and loosens its grip as the tree crashes to the ground. There seem to be a lot more blow downs this year. The forces of nature are apparent when you walk through these woods. I hiked the mountain trail a week or so ago, crawling over or around old and young, hardwoods and softwoods. The wind is indiscriminate. And it is yet another part of life that we have no control over. The trees that can bend and shift, being flexible and limber, weather the storm better than those that can’t.