Hardest rain we have had here on the property in ages #alwx #auburn (Taken with instagram)
That cold-ish time of year has come again, even down here in the south. On Wednesday it was almost 80*F, and now it looks like all that warm air is gone for now. One of the things we love about our house in the winter is our Lopi wood burning stove, but it takes a lot of wood too. Normally we cut and split wood all throughout the year, but the past year or two we haven’t really been able to catch up with the wood work so to speak. With all the trees down from the storm on Wednesday it’s too bad we couldn’t have just driven around Auburn and picked up all the wood, but instead I just cut my own up for today’s Friday Feet via my cell phone.
It was a little surreal driving around Auburn today in the sunshine seeing huge holes in people’s roofs, and massive trees down all over the place. I know there are still a lot of people in Auburn that are dealing with huge trees down on their property, and many with a lot of damage to their homes. Hopefully this will be the end of any more tornados for Alabama this year, this state has seen enough for 2011.
It was a dreary cloudy day in Auburn today, but almost 80*F in the middle of November, until this really fast moving storm system sort of caught everyone saying “what just happened?” These storms have now moved east doing about the same damage as they head towards the east coast. We didn’t have any damage at our place but there was pretty significant damage all around Auburn in the form of downed trees and power lines, some turned over cars, and apparently some damage to Auburn High School and Haley Center on campus. We are thrilled to hear that, so far, there haven’t been any injuries associated with the storm.
The only reason Deb and I happened to be on campus at lunch time today was to get her out of the house for a quick lunch in Foy Hall where they have one of her favorite places to eat. Once the sirens started going off on campus (see a really splotchy video here) everyone headed for the hallways and campus became like a ghost town. It’s just part of living down here in the south, glad no one was hurt. I did however get some photos while we were walking/driving around trying to get home (all taken with my cell phone here). Stormy weather always makes for such great lighting conditions, even if it is just on your cell phone.
Almost impossible to describe what we saw today as we took a small group of people from Cornerstone into Dadeville, AL. We didn’t know what to expect when we got there and most of the area was closed off, but the houses the police directed us to were way beyond needing trees cleaned up or anything like that, they just needed help finding their personal belongings so they could leave the area. It wasn’t partial damage where we were, it was complete destruction. The homeowners were more than gracious for having just lost everything and then having total strangers walking around their property. I tried to document what we saw as best I could while respecting the owners of the property. I spoke with each owner before taking any shots of course and they were more than accommodating to our group. To see the entire gallery from today visit Alabama Storm Damage April 2011.
Last rays of sun on the trees today #sunset @ The Fillmer Farm instagr.am/p/DRN_h
We have a tiny little Magnolia tree we planted about 3-4 years ago and all it does is bloom like crazy about this time of year. It never seems to grow or put out many leaves but the blooms are very pretty. It’s not the traditional Magnolia tree with the big waxy leaves, I’m pretty sure it is a Magnolia sieboldii tree but it really hasn’t grown much since we planted it, and today it is the photo of the day.
The photo of the day today comes from my back yard, as it was being clobbered by wind and rain. This photo sort of summed up the day in some respects. We had two unexpected calls by two different doctors for Deborah, neither of which I was all that excited about, it was cold and obviously poured, for most of the day… and then…
We went to our Ash Wednesday service (my first that I can ever remember as an adult Christian). At this moment I am trying to figure out how to mentally unpack what just happened.
My emotions were on edge from the day already but sometimes just being able to worship with raw emotions allows the Holy Spirit to have an impact. Brian led worship with a song I hadn’t heard yet (apparently everyone else has) by Tomlin from Passion called “Spirit Fall”, written by Jason Ingram, Louie Giglio, Kristian Stanfill and Daniel Carson, which has some incredible energy with a room of 500 people singing…
Magnify the Son
Savior of the world
The hope for everyone
The Valley of Vision
Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly,
You have brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see you in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold your glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter your stars shine;
Let me find your light in my darkness,
your life in my death,
your joy in my sorrow,
your grace in my sin,
your riches in my poverty,
your glory in my valley.
Sometimes it’s just hard to explain to how God works during corporate prayer and worship, but God was there, waiting for us to bring our worries and cares to Him. As explained by Josh tonight, today started a journey that walks down into and across a long valley and eventually ends up at the peak, the resurrection. I feel right now like I literally have no idea what is going to take place in our house over the next 7 weeks leading up to Easter, but I hope to look back at Easter and see that this night was one of those nights you just want to remember, even if the day wasn’t what you hoped for.
Yes, now I remember sneezing my head off last year now, it was when the Cedar trees started to put out all of that lovely pollen. The photo of the day today is from a backyard photo-walk, which includes tons of Cedar trees out here. All three of these photos were taken with my iPhone today while I was out walking through the backyard. There are tiny little green buds on many of the trees and many other signs that Spring is almost here.
I love the changing of the seasons but there is just something about this time of year when God manifests His beauty in such a visible way that makes everything in creation scream out with color.
I was quite saddened yesterday when I found out (who we now allegedly know as) Harvey Updyke from Dadeville (here on Facebook) had deliberately poisoned the Toomer’s Oaks in Auburn with a Dow Agroscience called Spike 80 DF (PDF of what this chemical is and does) “in retaliation for a 1983 event when Auburn students rolled the trees to celebrate the death of Alabama coaching legend Paul “Bear” Bryant.”
According to the Paul Finebaum show, (audio of caller is here) he had deliberately poisoned the Toomer’s Live Oaks in Auburn some time prior to the January 27th phone call. The OANews is now reporting on Updyke’s arrest, but the reaction across the Internet from Facebook and Twitter has been almost incalculable (see 16,000+ Toomer’s Tree Hug Saturday Ralley on Facebook for starters).
At the time I heard about this I couldn’t think of a more senseless and baseless act of vandalism that could never be punished to the extent of the damaged caused, especially when you count the hundreds of thousands of Auburn fans that love the Toomer’s Live Oaks. But, once again we can see this is nothing new under the sun. This very same thing happened to the University of Texas in Austin to their Treaty Oak in 1989. While I can’t say it’s the same, it makes me wonder if we at Auburn were destined to repeat this history?
I have a special tree here on my property I sit under and read during the summer, and have blogged about over and over again. If someone purposely had killed that tree it would have been quite upsetting. But for Auburn fans, how do you process something like this, the killing of something so special, something that has such key symbolic significance to Auburn itself? Auburn released a statement yesterday, where the president addressed this question.
We will take every step we can to save the Toomer’s oaks, which have been the home of countless celebrations and a symbol of the Auburn spirit for generations of Auburn students, fans, alumni and the community,” said University President Jay Gogue.
Gogue asked members of the Auburn Family to “continue to be ‘All In’ in upholding its reputation for class” and not allow anger to be expressed inappropriately or undeservedly.
“It is understandable to feel outrage in reaction to a malicious act of vandalism,” Gogue said. “However, we should live up to the example we set in becoming national champions and the beliefs expressed in our Auburn Creed. Individuals act alone, not on behalf of anyone or any place, and all universities are vulnerable to and condemn such reprehensible acts.
I know some crazy fan somewhere is not going to take that to heart but the example, rooted in Auburn’s Creed from 1945 says many great things about class and dignity of fellow people. Of course it doesn’t directly address the issue of forgiveness, (mainly because this is a creed for a secular, publicly funded university, not a religious organization) which is really what is needed here. This could be a huge, long, drawn out, post on the sinful nature of man, how we go about showing forgiveness, and why someone would do such a thing, but in the end, we as Christians are called to love one another as Christ loved the church, and this includes Harvey Updyke of Dadeville.
That means forgiving, without malice in our hearts, knowing all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, not just one man but all of us. We are now given the opportunity to show how a forgiving heart acts and reacts when hurt, even if Updyke is not remorseful or repentant himself.
I assume that now here in Auburn anyway, we can move away from the who done it aspect of the trees and focus more on the preservation or the Toomer’s Oaks or what to do if and when they do die. Here are some photos below I took of the Toomer’s Oaks as they sit today, bathed in bright February sunshine, on a gorgeous day in the south.
I will say that these are just trees. Very special trees When I went down to Toomer’s Corner today it was a zoo. The perspective on what happened in some respect has been totally lost. These are beloved trees that symbolize much of what is great about Auburn, but if we could channel this money, effort, and energy into something productive it would be amazing. Just a thought.
Additional current information related to the post above.
- Harvey Updyke’s Facebook Page in PDF
- Screenshot of Harvey Updyke’s Facebook Page
- List of his Facebook Friends in PDF
- Mug shot as listed on OANews
A Few News Reports on the Topic
- Toomer’s Corner tree poisoning a ‘new low’ in rivalry, national media say
- Toomer’s Corner trees poisoning: Auburn working against odds to save 130-year-old live oaks
- Arrest made in Toomer’s Corner poisoning
- Toomer’s Corner trees poisoning: An arrest reported, a sports world appalled at vandalism
- Despite rivalry, many Bama fans sickened by news of Toomer’s Corner poisoned trees
- Toomers Corner explodes in ecstacy with Auburn national championship win
- Toomer’s Corner rolling celebrates victory (in photos)
- The complete Toomer’s Corner files
- Man arrested for poisoning Toomer’s Corner oaks
- Is This The Alleged Toomer’s Corner Tree Poisoner?
- Man arrested in poisoning of oaks at Toomer’s Corner
Photo of the day today comes from my walk around the property yesterday. The sun is out, sky is blue, and it is so beautiful outside right now but Spring just isn’t quite here yet. I love these tall long needle pines. They don’t care what the season is, no matter if it’s freezing cold or 100*F in August, they stretch out their limbs dressed in green all year long.
Can’t wait to start seeing some leaves on the trees around here, Spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Auburn where the streets are lined with flowers. Both of these shots were taken with my iPhone and basically taken right off the phone with a little crop.