By Arthur H.Gunther III

“LEAN ON ME,” said the healthy pine to its brother, the roots of which were torn from the earth during Superstorm Sandy in fall 2012.   In a metaphor, how many Rockland County, N.Y., residents required help as they did without power and heat, some for weeks?
The mighty pine, a symbol of the Northeast and a non-deciduous offering to get us through sometimes harsh and colorless winters, has shallow roots, a reminder that life is fragile but enduring. That some pines grow and stand for decades is due to the closeness of their neighbors in a forest buddy system.
But Sandy was extra-mean, and this poor pine at the Nanuet School District park off Convent Road in the Town of Clarkstown had just one brother, to its left, and none to the right, making it vulnerable. It tilted in a great burst of wind and could not be righted. Nothing could “put this Humpty-Dumpty together again.”
And so the metaphor went for Rockland in the Sandy aftermath. Not all came back as they were, but in the troubles, there was certain and sure neighborly help.

The writer is a retired newspaperman who lives in Blauvelt, N.Y. Reach him at ahgunther@hotmail.com. This essay may be reproduced.

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