Fallen pine tree broken in half surrounded other pine trees

The Power Of Nature:
Climate Change or The Hand Of God?

Amelia Mae Coleman

I stuck my head out of the warmth of my soft gray tennis hoodie. It was raining. Not really raining, but misting. It wasn’t wet and it wasn’t dry, it was mist. A dry mist. 

We were in Featherville, Idaho. It was the 5th of July. Almost everyone around our property went home after the Fourth so it was a quiet evening. The sun was beginning to set with its beautiful orange-purple sky. I remember it was a cloudless night. Who knew something so beautiful could cause so much destruction?

My grandparents own a piece of property in Featherville. Every summer, me and my family take our trailers and our tents and go spend a few weekends camping. Or glamping, as we like to call it. We camp in trailers with access to running water and electricity. Hence the word: Glamping. This time we had a bigger group of people there celebrating the holiday with us. My parents had left before it started, but my grandparents, great-grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins spent the rest of the week in the mountains with us. My aunt and uncle were in an old small trailer. My great-grandparents were in a similar trailer. Both with a pull-out awning that was out to shade the sun and stop the occasional rain. Think of it as a big, flat white umbrella. 

As I took off my hoodie, I was called by my grandma to gather the dishes, silverware, and napkins so that we could all have dessert together. As I gathered up everything and laid it on the wooden bench, or plank (depending on how you see it) I noticed it got very dry. The heat was sudden and hot. Thinking nothing of it, I went back to my grandparent's trailer to collect the dessert. 

“Amelia! Come grab the ice cream!” my grandma yelled.

As I grabbed the soggy paper half-gallon tub of ice cream, I heard a loud noise from outside of the trailer. I quickly lept out of the trailer to see what was happening. It was the wind. It was making a yelling noise that sounded like a low roaring. It kept getting louder and louder. The wind kept whistling harder and harder. The wind was hot. It was like an oven was on, blowing air on your face. Lighting was striking around the street with flashes of light painting the sky, in colors of purple and white, and the thunder was booming. 






The noise was coming from every direction and eventually, all the noise drowned out all of the yelling. The BOOMS and CRASHES all became a distant hum, gradually falling away and being replaced by rips and screams.

 A couple of yards away, awnings were flying in the air. 

Each awning is connected to the trailer using metal rods. When there is wind, awnings are supposed to be rolled back in. Because the strong force of the winds came so quickly, there was not enough time to get them rolled up and put away. When the strong winds came so suddenly, the awnings flipped up and ripped. My great-grandparents’ awning flew all the way off and landed on the roof of their trailer, scratching the paint on the sides where it scraped against. 

It was chaos! At the same time, over on the opposite side of the lot, the tent made up for the kids flew away. All of the poles holding the tent together broke in two. The fabric of the tent tore from the force of the winds. My four cousins chased after the tent and caught hold of it before it made its way to the street. The trash can that was beside the tent flew away. We later found it four lots down the street with trash scattered around multiple different properties. 


I stood in the middle of the chaos only watching. For those 10 seconds, I felt an emotion that I had never felt before.

I think it was adrenaline. I felt a terrifying energy surging through my veins. In those seconds, I was the girl in the horror movie that watches everything happen around her instead of running. The one girl you think is stupid for looking around the dark corner, or the girl who opens the locked door where she knows there is a serial killer on the other side. I was that girl. I should have been running. I should have been moving my feet. Doing anything but stand there as it fell beside me. 

I remember seeing it crack up the middle, and when the tree came down, I was only 30 yards away. I didn’t move my feet. I didn’t get hit by the tree, but the branches that flew in the wind hit my wrists and face causing me to bleed and eventually scar. Not large scars, but enough to help me remember this moment. The moment when I should have been moving.

After getting hit, I finally came back to reality. This is when I started running. I turned my head around and saw a large pine tree falling down. Everything went into slow motion. The tree started coming down. Mice and rats started escaping by running out from the inside of the stump where the dirt and roots came out of the ground. The entire tree came up and broke in half. Everything was happening all at once. The lighting was still striking, the wind still howling, and the thunder still booming. Awnings still flying with trash in the air. It was a microburst. 

I found out a few days later what this was. My brothers had mentioned the name, but I didn’t know what it meant. So I did  what every teenager my age does.  I turned to the internet. More precisely, Google. I read that Microbursts usually happen during tornadoes and in Idaho, they are extremely rare since Idaho doesn’t have tornadoes. Every tornado usually has ten microbursts. Did we have a tornado that I never knew about? Each microburst goes on for 2.5 miles or more. But OUR microburst was only on our side of the street. What could this mean? 

 What was happening? Awnings were flying and dirt was getting blasted in my eyes and all I could think about was why? Why? This should be impossible. What is this? What is happening? Was this climate change or an act of God? 

After taking a deep breath, I ran to help with the tent situation. I needed to make sure my two younger brothers and my two cousins were alright. As far as the tent, the kids looked like they had it under control, but the big sister in me sprung to action.

“Are you guys okay?” I yelled. 

“Yes! This is CRAZY!” My brother, Owen yelled. Owen looks like a boy who could knock out a senior football player. He is big and tall. Being only eleven, this scares some people. Sometimes, people think he is tough and intimidating. Really, he is a big softy, so I knew he must have been scared.

“Yes! What is happening? Is this a…” My other brother Avery said while being drowned out by the continuous loud booming. He was holding the top of the tent. Being the tallest and fastest out of us all, I knew he had it under control. 

After seeing that they had the situation under control and that they were okay and not hurt, I went to go help with the much-needed awning disaster. 

My uncle and grandpa were already helping my great-grandpa hold the awning down so it would not cause more damage than what was already done. I ran over to grab the black strap that kept flicking them in the face whenever the wind would turn in the right direction. I held onto the strap and lifted the corner of the awning off the trailer to stop the continual scraping of paint that kept flicking off. I stood like this for about a minute, and then the wind died down. We all became a little more relaxed. The thick heat became cooler and manageable. The crashing and booming had stopped and the lighting stopped flashing. Everything stopped. 

My uncle and grandpa got off the roof and brought the shreds of the awning down. There was nothing left to salvage. My great-grandfather, uncle, and grandpa carefully rolled up the pieces of what was left of the awning and put it into the trailer. The kids came back from holding onto the tent, and all of the adults and I came together to talk about what we had just witnessed. There were a lot of emotions happening all at once. People were all talking over each other. Each one recounting their experience; even though we all had the same one. It was funny how different we all saw it. 

One thing was the same for everyone. We all stopped being afraid. We were thankful that none of us were hurt badly. We were extremely lucky. The tree that came down was 20 yards away from my grandparent's trailer while my grandma was still inside. If the tree had fallen a few degrees to the right, she would have been dead and I would have been dead. 

My parents were at Disney World during this. My brothers kept going on and on about how crazy the microburst was on a FaceTime call with them. They had a disaster of their own. It was raining so hard in Florida that even their hard-back suitcase got soaked and had standing water. They had to dry all of their items using a hair dryer. They dealt with a climate crisis of their own. 

 They had to trudge through a few feet of water at the happiest place on Earth. We both had crazy naturistic things happen to us. We had a microburst in Idaho and they had a downpour of rain during one of the sunniest times of year in Florida. My brothers went on and on about our story and how close the tree had come to crushing  us. 

It is strange that after all of this, we all just moved on with our lives. We never questioned this experience or have really talked about it since it happened. We all continued on. But I still wonder. 

Was this the power of nature, climate change, or an act from the hand of God? One thing was for certain, this was one in a million and our lives have been changed. I learned that the beauty of nature is just as dangerous as the destruction of nature. And climate change is real. 

Amelia Mae Coleman was born and raised in Kuna, Idaho. She is the oldest of three, with two younger brothers. Amelia is a Junior at Boise State University and am majoring in Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication. The WRTC program. She wants to go into the editing/publishing field or be a social media director. 

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