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  • Arthur Max

Nature's Fist

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

Like most people, we come to Sri Lanka for the Nature.

We come for the warm Indian Ocean water, and for its turtles, whales, dolphins and its bounty of fish; we come for the gentle breezes that bring the smell of the sea; we come for the emerald palm groves and wild jungles; we come for exotic wildlife and birdlife of its parks and open spaces.

Nature is our friend. Most of the time.

But Nature can be abusive and downright mean. I’m not talking about the deadly earthquakes of Nepal, the vicious cyclones of Bangladesh, the fatal avalanches of the Himalayas or other headline-grabbing disasters. I’m not even talking about the worst catastrophe of all in this region, the 2004 tsunami.

No, it’s the whimsical smaller acts of Nature. It’s not so much when she hammers you, but slaps you in the face.

Over the years we’ve had many battles with Nature. When tidal waves eroded our land and washed away a line of coconut trees, we erected a sandbag barrier. When that proved ineffective a few years later and we lost another line of trees, we dug out the sand and buried gabion boxes, or wire-encased boulders.

Just now, with the powerful gravitational force of the supermoon, the sea again pounded our beach. Overnight, a gradual sandy slope from our gate 20 meters to the water’s edge disappeared. becoming a four-foot drop. But the gabion boxes held, and the land remained firm.

Earlier this year we lost thirteen (!!) coconut trees in a horrendous thunder storm. Massive lightning bolts literally toasted the trees. Within a few hours, coconuts were falling like hailstones, followed soon after by the leaves of the crown. The trees were dead.

The barn door has not yet shut, however. We still have a dozen graceful old trees towering 70-80 feet above us. We are installing a lightning protection system to defend them, and learning about earthing, ohm resistance, conductivity, and the streaming of positive ions of all matter on the ground (including us!) that attracts the negative ions in the clouds.

Nature is still beautiful. New trees, which we’ve planted periodically over the last 15 years, are maturing strong and healthy, bearing fruit. The garden looks verdant. We’ve kept the stumps from the fatally struck trees to use as posts for our hammocks. It actually looks pretty cool!

And our beach? As the Good Book might say: The sea giveth and the sea taketh away. Lo, the sea giveth again.

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