Wood Hammered at Chithurst
When Britain was hit by a hurricane in the middle of October, West Sussex was right on target. Ajahn Anando describes some of the storm's effects.
That evening I looked at the barometer -- it was right at the bottom. I thought: "Either it needs adjusting, or we're really in for a storm". I went to sleep. Two hours later I woke up -- the kuti was moving!
...Everything was vibrating in the house. Mahesi had the window open -- it faces West and the wind was coming from the South-west. His description was: "We woke up and the room was alive, it was heaving:" He rushed to the window to close it as it was blown from its hinges, and he caught it just as it fell. Everyone was awake, there was just so much noise...
When it became light it was still quite windy. I walked around to see. I had feelings that the big cedar in the corner of the walled garden would go, and I was just very pleased that the wind was from the South-west. It fell into the garden: had the winds come from the other direction, the Southeast, then it would have fallen towards the house. I think it would have stopped at the ground floor! Half the bhikkhu Sangha would either be in hospital, or ashes spread about the grounds. Venerable Thanuttamo was living in the garden kuti -- he left after the third tree crashed down. Eight trees have fallen there: it looks like a bomb went off.
We spent the morning with chainsaws, tractor and trailer, cutting our way out -- just to the entrance of the monastery. Then all the rest of the day, from right after the meal until it was dark, we spent clearing our way down to the nuns' cottage.
|There were about eight trees down on the lane, enormous ones: we have enough firewood for the next five years. The following day we finished clearing, or widening, the roadway from the monastery out to the main road.|
It will take months to clear all of the grounds. With the large oaks that have blown down, we'll trim them and either leave them in place or move them to one side -- they can be planked later on. So it's quite likely that when we get around to rebuilding the coach-house there will be a lot of oak panelling in there!
We lost about a hundred tiles from the house and some gutters were broken. We're very fortunate because we have people who can repair things like that -- and we have a supply of tiles. None of us thought very much about it, but on the day after the storm Anagarika Nick went up and replaced almost all of the tiles.
|Of course we didn't have any electricity or telephone. The telephone was down for ten days and the electricity, strangely enough, came on for the afternoon of the Kathina.|
With the loss of many oaks, we gathered up quite a number of acorns and have started a little tree nursery. We have all of the necessary materials because of the Wild Flower Project. Once the acorns have sprouted and grown to a height of just a few inches, they can then be planted directly into the forest with one of those tree guards, so it isn't the somewhat laborious procedure that one has to follow with wild flowers. There seems to be a real willingness to help, because it's rather sad to see so many beautiful trees down.
We have "Forest Days" on the last Sunday of each month and a planting already scheduled for the first three weeks of December -- only a small plantation, 250 trees.