A familiar warmth wraps around these sleek slender rectangle plates as I pick them up from the stranger we no longer call home. My fingers gently trace over the smooth raised white letters while my mind falls into the depth of blackness surrounding their last memory, still etched on my eye lids. With no warning the weight of the thick heavy trunk cut through the house like a knife. Wilo was instantly trapped in an entangle of long slender limbs and smothered in dark green leaves. Each forceful gust slamming a tighter grip on her.

That day the wind took our freedom. The freedom to drive our family away from the devastation to safety. There was nothing we could do. There was no escape. We couldn’t run. We couldn’t hide. All we could do was listen to each gust pounding it’s way through the towering trees left standing as they were violently thrashed around like rag dolls. Cracking and snapping drew your eyes to the distance. Each blow followed screams of children burying their heads deeper into our bodies. It had our attention.

The wind held our lives in it’s hands for a few hours longer. Slowly dying down as did the children. Sitting in the front seat of Wilo for the last time, my heart racing as I prayed she could hold the weight of the gigantic gum on her back. There was nothing more we could do for her but empty our memories into a white plastic bag. Tucking her in for the night whispering a soft gentle goodbye in her ear. Thanking her for getting us up those steep hills and home safely from those long trips. Help was coming in the morning.

Wilo’s body was freed and towed away that next day. All that remains are these plates. With a heavy heart we gently wipe away the pain as we remember today she begins her next life, the next evolution of who she is meant to be. Her striking pearl white, catches your eye as she thunders down the road, a deep rumble illuminating her essence of freedom and safety.