Friday, August 24, 2012

Cool Green Tent

Last night a tree fell on our home. 

We were literally climbing into bed when it happened. We watched and couldn’t believe it. 

The big hackberry tree in our backyard snapped in two. We didn't notice any precipitating factor that could have alerted us to its imminent demise.

The portion of the trunk that sheared off as we watched looked like a green iceberg sliding into the sea. 

The sea in this case was our yard and rooftop. We looked on in awe with no time even to be fearful. 

The tree fell in slow motion yet quickly. Amazement dulled what should have been instinctive reaction to move away pronto. Frozen in place we waited for the inevitable thud.

The tinkling noises of glass disturbed in the window panes got the adrenaline flowing. I was sure the sounds of breaking glass would be next.  I was in the hallway by that time and that was all that mattered.

In the quiet afterward we checked things out. We counted ourselves extremely fortunate. Boughs on the roof and over the deck had made an unbelievably graceful landing.

It was a perfect drop (not that a tree falling on one’s house can ever be described quite in those terms). One lucky thing registered immediately. No glass anywhere was broken.

Rain (for it had begun to rain) wasn’t pouring in or seeping through the roof. That was good enough for me. I went to sleep.

In the light of day we reassessed the damage. Branches rested up against the upper windows in bushy disarray. They required nothing but to be cleared away. Some roof shingles are messed up. This is minor damage Al thinks.

The deck took the brunt of the fall. It was filled with branches and leaves. Incredibly it sustained no damage.

The tree couldn't have lined up its fall better if programmed by a computer. Considering the welter of boughs and branches poking and projecting every which way the end result was a sense of tidiness.

The tree managed to miss eaves and gutters, rainspouts and deck lighting. It didn't puncture window screens. 

All those branches didn't scratch the deck rails or overturn one piece of deck furniture. 

The deck (newly stained just last week) has a fifteen-inch gouge mark in the center of the floor boards. This can be sanded and restained. A trifle in touch-up when you consider costs with major deck damage.

The large limb spanning the deck created a pergola effect. The greenery was draped as if for an outdoor social event. It made the deck on this sticky August morning seem like a cool green tent.

Someone came over to cut up the tree (goodbye $700.00!) and haul away the debris. The backyard was left with an airier canopy and glimpses of open sky not seen before.

The tree with its encompassing umbrella of shade might be missed next summer. Regret is mixed with great thankfulness.

We're glad the part of the tree rotten at the core could come down relatively gracefully. It shed its thicket of green leaves upon us without doing a nasty number on the house which could easily have happened.

Surveying the mess this morning gave me my first smile. It was at sight of  the blanket of leaves on the deck.

Last evening I was about to sweep the deck. Recalling that the forecast was for possible late-evening storms I figured rain or wind would bring down more leaves, rendering futile any sweeping done.

A clean deck can wait until tomorrow was the decision. I went off to find my big fat fall fashion magazine.

I sat with it out on the deck, mentally previewing my autumn/ winter wardrobe under the pleasant shade of the stand of trees which includes the hackberry.

I saved myself some work was the thought that produced this morning's smile. I’d have swept the deck yesterday only to have to do it all over again.

Then a new thought came. I may have saved myself a bit of work but the tree may actually have saved me. 

The hackberry tree held off on its fall until the deck was empty and we were safely inside for the night.

Ro Giencke – August 24, 2012





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