If a tree falls in your neighborhood in the middle of the night and no one hears it, did it really fall? According to my calculations: yes.
As I leashed my dog and took him outside for his morning walk, an out of place sight stopped me in my tracks. I looked at the neighbor’s side of our shared driveway and I saw that half of the large elm tree had cracked and is now angled toward the ground. The large, leafy branch covered the entire sidewalk and the breaking point up top looked jagged, dangerous, and like it would have made a really loud noise.
I didn’t hear a thing.
This is the second time in as many weeks that one of the ancient trees in our established neighborhood has taken a dive. Last week, I heard the cracking outside from my office in the basement. It was slow at first, and then became more intense as a large branch swung down from atop its age-old perch. I sprinted up the stairs expecting it to be part of the tree in our backyard taking aim at mini-house or the garage. When I got to the top of the stairs, our tree was fine. Across the backyard I saw the leaves of the large swinging branch coming to rest after brushing the house on the corner and tucking a power line between itself and its parent tree.
Sadly, this summer, our neighborhood has lost more than those large branches. A vicious storm on Memorial Day took out many of the shady coverings that have heard children play and soaked up their giggles for generations. Mother Nature has waged war on our trees and the battles haven’t been going well.
Weeks after that storm, a windstorm claimed more of our precious trees. During such storms I now head to the basement. It’s not the worry of tornadoes, but of trees attacking structures that worries me. Now that the trees and good and weakened, I don’t even want to lay in the backyard hammock anymore, for fear that a giant limb of a tree will slap me.
An eerie image supported my fear when I walked in the backyard a few days ago. I saw a large branch lying on the pillow of the hammock as if to say, “This would have smacked your face.”
Summer should be for enjoying relaxing moments under the branches of a shady tree, not wondering which one will fail and fall in your path. I feel sorry for these antique trees. If I could have my wish, they would stand forever, just as they are now.
If you need me, I will be inside. Staying away from the killer tree branches of our quaint neighborhood.