Sitting on the deck of our home, taking in the sight of our curly willow trees, you would never know they were devastated by a freak winter storm just a few months ago. New leaves and branches are bursting out all over. In February no one would have predicted they would still be standing, let alone full of lush green leaves. One tree had already been given a poor prognosis after a strip of bark was torn away by a rutting buck. The expert talked about removing it because, he said, its death was imminent.

Our area, like many on the West Coast, has been experiencing years of drought. Our fire seasons are deadly, and many trees are dry and brittle with shallow roots. As two feet of heavy, wet snow fell on our area in February, we could hear branches snapping throughout our backyard forest. By morning, many trees had fallen on houses and utility lines, knocking out power throughout the county. Some folks were without power for two weeks. The branches of curly willows either lay on the ground or dangled from tree trunks. The beautiful winter photos from the night before were a stark contrast to what stood before us.

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