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  • Writer's pictureFrauke Emrich

Caught in the Storm

A story of destruction, resilience, and hope.

June 22, 2023. It is a hot and muggy day in Kassel, Germany.

We are waiting for rain since three or four weeks. Since there has been enough rain in spring, the garden is a little paradise for bees, bumblebees and other wildlife despite the recent dry spell. Poppies and many other flowers enrich the garden with their scent and beauty. Tomatoes, chilis, bell peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, zucchinis, pumpkins and other vegetables are strong; they bloom and bear the first fruits.

For the past two days there has been a warning of severe weather conditions including tornados. We are hoping that it will pass us by or that it won’t be as bad as predicted. In the afternoon, a notification of the weather warning app pops up on our phones, and two minutes later, the storm begins abruptly with hail up to a size of golf balls. A supercell sweeps right over Kassel. For more than twenty minutes of deafening noise, absolute helplessness and the feeling of being small and insignificant, we are faced with the violent power of nature.

When it is finally over, there is a heap of pine branches on the lawn, and the flowers and vegetables are snapped off or destroyed. Leaves, apples and branches lie among the mass of hailstones on the ground – within twenty minutes the garden changed from an oasis for insects into a desolate wasteland. The following day, I cannot motivate myself to go into the garden to clean up the chaos and to dispose of my plants. In retrospect, luckily.

A week later, I realize that many of my tomatoes and other plants are sprouting again. I am grateful and realize that nature gave me a lesson. It told me not to give up. Nature is able to regenerate and heal itself, if we have the patience to let it be. And this experience sparked a small hope in my heart; the hope that it is possible to change the climate crisis if only we are able to find our trust in nature, and to live with and not against nature.

Nature will survive – one way or another.

The same is not guaranteed for us.

Text by Frauke Emrich.

Photos by Frauke Emrich and Ingo Happel-Emrich.

Cover photo by Merle Emrich.


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