Strong Kentucky Winds Uproot a Moving Friendship Between Two Majestic Trees
The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.- William Blake
Amy Whistle, who lives just outside Owensboro in the small community of Philpot, Kentucky, certainly shares the imagination that legendary British poet William Blake wrote about. For her, the two trees in the photograph above personified the depths of her vivid imagination. Those trees, which rest on her husband Troy's grandparents' farm, were certainly not just "green things standing in the way." For Amy, those trees shared a history, a friendship, a decades-old story, and unshakable bond. That story, sadly, ended over the weekend at the wicked hands of Mother Nature and Father Time.
This is the story of trees named Thelma and Louise.
If you were out and about Saturday here in western Kentucky, you likely endured ferocious winds that blew through the area. I spent some of the morning at the Holiday Market at the Owensboro Regional Farmers' Market, which was absolutely riddled by powerful wind gusts. The wind was wreaking havoc on pop-up tents and holiday gift displays around the market.
That was my friend Jim Gilles' tent. It was basically destroyed by the wind despite the fact that there were multiple people struggling to hold it in place and preserve it. They couldn't. The winds were so strong Saturday that the Holiday Market was cut short for many people. Vendors were packing up their tents and their wares to escape inevitable damage from the wind.
Across town, on the eastern side of Daviess County, those same winds destroyed something that couldn't escape them. It rather ruthlessly claimed the life of a long-lasting friendship, deeply rooted in the soil of a Philpot farm.
Amy's a dear friend of mine who admits she's been "obsessed" with these two trees and described them beautifully on social media. She wrote about Thelma and Louise, "They’ve been together for a gazillion years, saying grace over crops, welcoming the sunrise, waiting for the full moon to rise above them. Turned backs like a pair of good friends with opposing views"
Saturday morning's wind storm literally ripped those friends apart for good - a rather saddening reminder that nothing, even a towering, majestic tree, is forever.
See, Amy had two other names for those trees as well. She also referred to them as Emma and Elwood, the names of Troy's grandparents I mentioned earlier. Amy has always thought of those trees as an old couple or aging sisters. She has spent endless amounts of time watching those trees and imagining and writing their story. Reality, unfortunately, wrote its own ending.
Maya Angelou once wrote, in her powerful poem, "When Great Trees Fall,"
When great trees fall
small things recoil into silence,
eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
a hurtful clarity.
For Amy, the clarity was indeed hurtful. In Thelma, she lost a faithful friend. And that friend's friend, Louise, is now standing there all alone. In silence, stillness, and solitude. Indeed, a great tree has fallen and Amy summed it up with poetic accuracy of her own. She said, simply, "Stupid wind."
Stupid wind indeed.