One night Greg made a list of everything we needed to do before the storm. He has been crossing items off the list since then. This morning he went into town, while the harbour is still calm. When he comes home we will intensify our preparations to secure everything.
But some things can't be secured. There's the oak tree just in front of the house. Myrtle Goulden, who was born in this house and grew up here, told us that her brother Burns planted that tree as a gift to his mother. Bertha had wanted an oak tree. He may have planted an acorn, or maybe a sapling. Myrtle wasn't sure which. Burns was born in this house in 1914 and Myrtle said he planted the tree when he was about twelve. So it's around eighty years old now. It's the only oak tree on McNutt's.
The tree is very close to the house. Over the years it has been pruned so that its branches do not actually hang above the roof. But still, it is very close. In summer it harbours the birds and gives us shade. In autumn it protects us from the westerly winds. In winter its bare branches give us beauty. It is home to lichen and mosses. And this time of year it is full of leaves and wind resistance. It could blow over in the coming storm.
These days of grace have given us time to prepare. But they also give us a chance to touch the oak tree's branches, to admire the curve of its wide embrace. For all that we can't make secure, we can somehow tell our gratitude now, just in case.