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(Photos from Renate)

“These are the apples from our tree,” Renate says with sad eyes. She sets the plate of fruit in the middle of the table. “And the pears too.”

Hans, Renate and I sit in the glass room, counting the broken trees in the yard. The apple tree, snapped in half. The pear tree, snapped in half. And of course the giant pine tree, tipped over and leaning on the roof of the house. Just like the roots, the grass had ripped out of the ground, leaving a patch of dirt in the middle of the yard.

“We planted that tree thirty-eight years ago,” Hans says.

“It was this big,” Renate says, measuring a foot with her two hands.

The wind is still fierce as the trees at the end of the yard lean at a thirty degree angle. But this wind can’t match yesterday’s.

After breakfast we drive to Ribe. On the way one of us shouts, “Oh!” at the next piece of destruction. We turn our heads and shout, “Oh!” back.

Schleswig-Holstein’s worst storm in decades.

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