Living in Oklahoma, we here the word “resilience” a lot over the course of a lifetime. Resilience is the adjective for communities following tornadoes, floods, ice storms, and economic swings. Resilience is the word used for Dust Bowl Okies and rugged frontiersman in history text books.  And as much as I think I know about community resilience and even the resilience of nature – still I find myself in awe.

A few weeks ago my humble home got hit with baseball-sized hail on one exciting and noisy evening. (Like many of us, my roof and car still need repair!) I did not mind my property damage terribly much – after all, we have insurance and this will be the first time we have really had to use it – we are usually fortunate, but it was bound to happen eventually.  The thing that upset me the most, actually, was my garden.
It looked obliterated after the hail storm. I had a row of okra that was smashed so terribly, you could not even tell it had been there at all. I had some healthy cantaloupe plants whose wide stems had been torn wide open and all their leaves shattered. My canna lilies were shredded, bearing a strong resemblance to palm fronds.  My Russian sage (my favorite plant) was snapped off on all the stems. My bell pepper was a twig coming out of the ground.

But the shocking thing is that the only casualties were the obliterated (Possibly  vaporized?) okra plants. Some of the others still struggle – my celosia is probably never going to be beautiful again, and my Russian sage is still short and bent at odd angles. But many of the other plants look as though nothing ever happened! The cannas have replaced their shredded leaves with wide happy ones. The strawberries have started to produce again. And most shocking, the cantaloupe is happier than it has ever been, growing quickly and producing copious amounts of blooms and baby melons, despite being opened and shattered. I was certain that at least one of the melons would die, and even more certain that I would lose a few of the vines where the stems had been broken. But none of it died. Can you believe that? This year there shall be melons galore.

So, even for the most smashed and damaged looking plants – Resilience! They are as much Okie as the rest of us. 

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