At my home across town an old oak tree dropped a two-ton limb onto the house, crushing a bedroom. My 15-year-old brother, straining with my father to hold up a cherry tree in our front yard, said, "You know, this is the worst thing that ever happened to me." Even among the wreckage my father had to laugh. "May it remain so." he said.
Indeed, the wind did not turn out to be a killer storm, not like those the rest of the country must deal with. My recollections of its aftermath are mostly those of an aching back and shoulders, a whine in my ears from a night and a day of working with a chain saw and days spent freeing cars and streets of trees that innocently had grown all their lives without ever feeling such a gale.
The wind never reaches 30 mph in Eugene now without mention of the Columbus Day Storm, and as new generations grow up unimpressed by our talk of a storm they did not witness, it would be nice to have that 9.4w there in the public record as proof of a day when half a state learned to regard its weather as not always predictable, when nature made a callous youth experience the faint disquiet of new respect.