As discussed in my previous blog my Toastmaster Project 6 - "Vocal Variety" was named “The Wind”. The speech was about finding a relation between nature and life. The speech was written in a way to have a drama, inorder to incorporate both movement and vocal variety. In red are the emphasis I had attempted of incorporating.
Fellow Toastmasters and guests…
A few years ago while I was in India, my wife and I traded our condo keys for house keys. Our floor space doubled, but there were two much larger changes. First, our mortgage jumped from something quite manageable to something which scares me considerably. Second, the few hours that I once affectionately called “free time” (emphasize it with a sarcastic voice and imaginary quotation sign) became known as “yard work.” Yard work is a bit like working at MDA for me. I don’t have any clue what I should be doing half the time, but somehow I always end up being terribly busy.
The first big project (emphasize) I tackled was to take care of numerous bushes and trees that were either dead or located in places where my wife didn’t want them. Most of this involved pulling dried sticks out of the earth. The Japanese maple tree was a bit different…it had leaves! So, rather than chop it out, we decided to move it to a prominent spot in the front yard.
The tree was only seven feet tall. I quickly estimated that I would be done in time to enjoy a mid-morning lemonade. I started digging a hole around the tree about two feet in diameter. Unfortunately, the roots seemed to extend beyond that. I extended the hole to three feet… no luck. Four feet. No luck! After a few hours of digging, I had a moat around the tree, several feet wide and deep. ( the whole paragraph should osscilate between voice variation and body movement to show the digging)
I exposed all the roots that I could see, and pulled on the trunk. When the tree didn’t pop out of the hole, I tugged harder. (act it) Tugs turned to yanks… yanks turned into full-fledged wrestling. Yes, when nobody is looking, this is what I do in my back yard… wrestle trees! Eventually, the tree took pity on me and fell over. I then discovered the source of the tree’s strength… roots as expansive as its branches! Strong roots… strong tree. (emphasize)
Planting it in the front yard was quite a bit easier. As I gazed up, exhausted, my eye was drawn to my neighbour’s yard. Specifically, the fifty-foot monster tree in my neighbour’s yard looming over my garage. I put on my engineering cap, and walked a few houses down the street so I could get a good perspective. (walk up a bit and look up) No doubt about it… that tree would easily crush my garage if it ever toppled over. Good thing trees have such strong roots.
Many months later, the yard work mercifully ended with the rainy season. During the first big wind storm, I was out on a business trip. I flipped on the news, and was amazed to see footage of Kolkata from national news – gigantic trees falling to the ground and on buildings. Roads covered with trees.
Terror flashed before me… could my neighbour’s monster tree be toppled by the wind? (panic) I called my wife. She reported that the patio is broken and slammed into the house. However, the monster tree stood tall, and only a few of its branches littered my yard. (relief)
Yet, the television footage was real. This hit home when my wife and I were driving through neighborhood some weeks later. It was impossible to imagine how so many trees could be knocked over.
A theory was put forth by several arborists in Greater Vancouver. Perhaps it was not the force of the wind alone. Rather, it was the force combined with the direction. Apparently, the wind storms of 2008 came from an unusual direction. Each time the wind blows, trees become stronger as they resist it. But, since these trees had never had to face a strong wind from this particular direction, they were “side-swiped” and unable to cope.
In case you were wondering… my Japanese maple tree was hardly touched by the wind.
Fellow Toastmasters, we can’t control when the wind comes, how powerful it is, or its direction. However, we can control our response to it. We can try to evade it, and risk being side-swiped… or we can face the wind head-on. (Dramatize the head on)