And then the wind…

Pennsylvania Park after a storm

The July heat finally brought the storms, and the gentle rain began marauding into sideways sheets of water. An eerie quiet, then the alarms, and then it happened.

Within minutes of the expired tornado warning, another storm ripped through Petoskey; only lasting a few minutes, if that, but trees were down for miles around. Some lost power, some had gas meters torn from the sides of houses by falling limbs, and others found roofs and cars with unwanted debris hanging from all corners.

But community being what community is here in Downtown Petoskey, neighbors and volunteers were everywhere moving and clearing what came down. Hundred-year old trees were uprooted. Limbs as big as trees themselves were blocking streets and sidewalks.

Photo from Grandpa Shorter’s Facebook

We had to clear our own front yard, being the first fire call due to a blown gas line, but once all was cut and repaired, we walked downtown. The scene was surreal. People were already out dining in outdoor spaces; they were shopping and wandering while taking pictures of the aftermath; there were tree services and city employees cutting and shredding; it was as if something had happened, but oh well.

The resiliency of the town-folk was amazing. Nary a skipped beat. Within a few days, the biggest of the trees were removed, and after a couple of weeks, stumps and raised turf are the only remaining evidence.

Fortunately, July turned into August, and summer continues. Face masks have become symbols and fashion statements. Tourists and resorters are complying with safety requirements. In fact, Downtown Petoskey has been as busy as ever, and not knowing what school requirements will be, there seems to be a pattern of people extending vacations.

Walking through Pennsylvania Park, today, I was enlivened by the music emanating from the gazebo and seeing people sitting – socially distanced – tapping feet to the rhythms. The new extended sidewalk dining venues at City Park and Tap 30 were full as was the Chandler’s patio and Duffy’s terrace.

There was a relaxed atmosphere among the throngs. A knowledge that if we do our best with mitigating the spread of the virus, we can enjoy our time in the sun; our time together, even if six feet apart. 

Pensylvannia park after a sorm
Photo from Grandpa Shorter’s Facebook
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