Strangers bonded over broken branches and toppled trees

Strangers bonded over broken branches and toppled trees



Called the “month of love” by many, Shakespeare in Much Ado About Nothing says that Benedick has “such a February face, so full of frost, of storm and cloudiness.” Renaissance Italian poet Pietro Aretino in speaking of February said, “Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.”


Last month’s snowfall, freezing rain, and record low temperatures led to joy for schoolchildren playing and headaches for those driving. High winds snapped tree limbs that took power lines down. Tall trees toppled and smashed homes and vehicles. Those living outdoors moved to a warming center only to relocate after a pipe froze, burst, and flooded the space. People were without power for several days; all in all, it was a winter disaster of epic proportions.

Yet out of this disaster were countless stories of care for neighbors and strangers. Neighbors with power brought hot soup, beverages, and blankets to those without power. Others invited friends into their home, so they and their children had a warm and welcoming place to sleep, eat, and shower for a few days. Neighbors who had lived for many years on the same cul-de-sac without connecting were confronted by driveways and backyards with fallen trees. A common problem brought them to share chainsaws and other tools to clear debris and better their neighborhood; former strangers bonded over broken branches and toppled trees.

Why does it take a disaster to bring out the best in us? Perhaps these events strip away our illusion of invulnerability. Our supposed independence is built upon a delicate web of relationships the diameter of a power line.

  • How can we extend help to and accept help from others?
  • How can sharing resources help create community and tackle common problems?


Rev. Dr. Sybrant serves at Murray Hills Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). For more info, visit us at 15050 SW Weir Road, Beaverton. | 503-524-5230