Two weeks have passed since the freak October snow storm trashed the landscape along the northeast corridor. Countless trees came down under the weight of heavy wet snow, blocking streets and roads; thousands of branches snapped power lines, leaving over 800,000 customers without electricity in Connecticut alone.
Although power has been restored with the assistance of line crews from the lower 48 states and Canada, the cleanup of limbs and brush continues. You can’t drive down any residential street in most towns without passing scores of piles of branches and brush at curbside.
In our area the storm damaged several ancient giants as well: a 400-year-old oak and a sycamore of similar vintage.
I was up before daybreak and headed north to check out the old white oak. Several large branches had broken off and lay strewn about on the ground below the upper canopy, reduced nearly 40 percent. At least one sizeable limb hung suspended by splinters high up on the tree. Still the old giant stood stately in the midst of the destruction.
I snapped a few photos, then drove south to examine the 300-year-old sycamore named for the founder of the Yale School of Forestry, Gifford Pinchot. Numerous leafy branches had fallen down, skirting the base of the tree, making it nearly impossible to view the massive trunk, 26 feet in circumference.
Judging from the remnant limbs still viable, it seems as though both of these giants will survive.
Yet one lesson remains clear: when it comes to climatic events, nature shows no mercy.