We wouldn’t be able to talk about Brimfield if we didn’t talk about the freak June 1, 2011 tornado that ripped through the area last year. Most of our area watched our TVs in horror as a rather large tornado danced down Rt. 20 through Brimfield and Sturbridge and upended homes, trailers, and historic buildings.
We were patently not prepared for what we were going to see when we got there this year. Geoff grew up in Tornado Alley and so he has a lot more exposure to this than I do, but even he was surprised. (He’ll talk more about that in another post.) This was a very large tornado even if it wasn’t super powerful. Areas that we were used to seeing covered in trees were laid bare. Root balls of trees that one could not have imagined out of the ground were still, nearly a year later, sticking up in the air. We were there in May of 2012 and the rebuilding, the ground clearing, and the cutting of the downed trees is still going on.
So, here are the photos I took as we made our daily treks back and forth along Rt. 20 and some of the other byways. Everything uploaded here is from my camera. The fact that more people were not killed in this will never cease to amaze me.
This is more of a photo essay than anything else. As the photos speak for themselves there’s really no need to caption them. They are unedited except in instances where a license plate or phone number on a local sign needed to be removed.
I apologize that these were all taken from the car. As you can probably tell from the photos Rt. 20 doesn’t have a shoulder so we couldn’t pull over and get photos from any sort of close angle that would give you an idea of how big or small those stumps and shard of trees are. Suffice to say, this was a large swath of mixed hardwood forest and most of what survived were the flexible young and softer woods. The big, heavier trees? They’re firewood now. Or mulch.
We’ll post more of our actual finds soon, as I know that’s what most of you are interested in. But it wouldn’t have been right to jump right in and post that without acknowledging what happened there last year. Even for people like us who are in this part of Massachusetts once or twice a year, the feeling of loss was still palpable. And it was almost a year later.