When the Typhoon Comes

The Natural Cycle of Life






A few days after the typhoon No.21 swept across the western part of Japan, we finally decided to put our work aside and have a look at the conditions of the woods.

My husband bought this little piece of woodland a few years ago. Along with it, he also bought an abandoned site where he used to have his adventures as a child. His plan was to have the area repaired and use them as our backyard. The previous owner of the woodland planted a lot of bamboos to harvest the bamboo shoots. As a strong plant, the bamboos have grown so lush and began to create a natural shade that blocks the sunlight from coming through. Other trees in the area have grown unusually tall to acquire more sunshine. Although we have cut off many of the bamboos that are not supposed to be in the land, the trees would not return to their original shape. Seeing the overly slender trees, I was a little worried that they would not survive the strong wind.

The path to the woods also got rather chaotic with spiky chestnuts and tree branches scattered on the asphalt road. The corrugated metal shed built by our neighbors had also got tilted by the wind. However, once the car entered the woods, we were greeted by a vividly green area that looked even greener after the rain. At first glance, I could not even tell if they were affected by the typhoon. A few fallen maple tree branches, probably blown down by the wind, were lying on the wild meadow. The Hydrangea we planted this year has yet adapted to the area, now it already got almost ruined. These changes are, however, merely one way of seeing.

All of a sudden, I thought of how the Hirano Shrine got damaged by the typhoon, as shown in the images on the internet not long ago. It is truly saddening to see the cherry blossom trees got blown down. The fallen branches on the asphalt road also shook me up a bit. I could not understand why the damages the typhoon brought to our little woodland looked so reasonable and harmonic.

The typhoon no. 21 did not only damage the Kansai airport’s bridge, it also caused great damage to many historical architectures in Kyoto. Some of them have even collapsed. Throughout my 6 years living in Japan, I have seen numerous events of natural disaster. They reminded me of how powerless human can be. The civilization human has spent thousands of years to construct appears to be so fragile in the face of nature. On the contrary, although trees can be blown down by the strong wind, the fallen branches will become part of the nutritious soil to breed beautiful flowers and ripe fruits. While human see typhoon as a catastrophe, to the world of nature, it is simply an inevitable part of the cycle of life.