Alas, Poor Blueberries

Last week we had some freakishly hard, heavy rain. The first of these storms knocked lots of nearly-ripe blueberries off their bushes, whch was very sad, but that’s the way it goes with gardening.

A few days later there was an even heavier rainfall. In Chile they call this kind of downpour “lluvia mata pajaritos,” rain that kills baby birds. I didn’t find any nests on the ground aftwerward – I found an entire tree. There was no wind; the damage was from the weight of all that water on an ash tree that had been attacked by emerald ash borers, an accidentally imported species against which native trees have no defenses. There are so few ash trees left in Ann Arbor, I didn’t notice that we had one back there behind the garden, until it fell. Then it was obvious.

I didn’t hear it fall because the rain was making such a racket. I wouldn’t have seen it go even if I’d been looking out the right window, because visibility was about six feet. I had been working in the garden in the morning before the rain started, came in when the clouds got alarmingly thick, worked on a poem for a couple of hours until the rain stopped again, and only looked out the appropriate window by chance as I fixed a cup of tea.


From the house all I saw was a leafy mass. I put down the teacup and went out to find one of my wonderful blueberry-net cages bashed in and one section of fence reduced to half height, but – miraculously – the blueberry bush inside the ruined cage survived, and no tomato plants were destroyed, though a couple were somewhat dented. The tree lying across the fence looked suspiciously like a ramp for the woodchuck. I wonder if she has any little beaver friends in the nearby creek.

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