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Good neighbors at the Monastery

If you have been watching the same television news I have, then you know severe weather patterns are developing across the nation. Particularly dangerous storms are reported in the nation's midsection. Tornadoes are reported in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Texas and Missouri. We continually watch stories about hurricanes, tornadoes, high winds, floods, fires and even freeze warnings in May.

Our president visits storm-damaged areas. Conferences are being held to discuss global warming and climate change. What can be done to control human activity that contributes to earth warming and climate change? The planet is being threatened. Old timers have never seen such weather extremes and are beginning to agree we need to do something about global warming, even if it affects the profit bottom line. There are too many reports of severe weather, too much property damage, loss of life, and changing ecosystems. Arctic ice is melting, seas are rising, greenhouse gases are building and the world's marine animals are being threatened.

We have been hearing and reading reports about these weather extremes and now we are actually seeing some results right here in our own back yards.

Several weeks ago, we experienced very heavy rains. There was serious flooding, property damage, and uprooted trees. On our property and nearby land were huge oak trees estimated to be over 125 years old. They had stood all these years -- strong, beautiful and offering shade and food for birds, deer and squirrels. Their roots apparently were too weak to stand in the saturated soil caused by the heavy rains and strong winds. Several trees from the adjacent land of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit toppled across our fence and fell into our pasture. It was a sickening feeling to see all this beauty suddenly destroyed by storms.

Only once before in more than 30 years of living in south Rockdale County had we experienced serious tree damage due to the weather. Years ago a tornado passed by here and our loss then was more than 100 trees all over the property.

The Monastery's abbot is the Rev. Francis Michael Stiteler, and his business manager is Jim Burnham. We notified them of our damages and Mr. Burnham and Father Augustine came by to look at our problem. Being the kind of good neighbors they have always been, the Monastery crew with their heavy equipment soon showed up to restore our pasture to its normal state. We offered encouragement as employees from Father Augustine's tree crew cut up the huge oaks and cleaned up the damaged area.

After so many years of listening to news stories about uprooted trees, it was strange to suddenly find ourselves among the many Atlanta residents who sustained tree damage in the recent storm.

We appreciate help from our neighbors at the Monastery, and thank them for the businesslike manner in which they handled our damage claims.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.