Wind is the most capricious of Nature’s forces. Rarely does a flood or a fire leave one site untouched yet destroys on either side. Wind does just that and even in its worst forms, doing its most damage, we cannot see the wind itself, only the destruction She has clothed Herself in. I was hit by the storm as I raced home, to get the dogs safe and make sure they were not caught in the open by it, but the storm was quicker still. I had to pull over as the wind shook my truck, the hail pounded me, and the rain fell in angry sheets. All traffic on the four lane stopped and no one dared to drive in the fury. Slowly, the car ahead of me disappeared under the deluge and the minutes turned into hours and then days, but then the car reappeared, not ten feet in front of me, and I knew the storm had left us alive.
On the way home I knew I was overlate to save the dogs. There were two utility poles on the road to my house that were snapped in two. A very large pine tree had fallen over the power lines. There were small limbs everywhere. Further down the road and closer to the house the damage seemed less severe and I had hopes we were be untouched. But my neighbor’s shed told a different story; the tin roof had been rolled up like paper.
All four dogs were waiting for me and no trees had landed on the house. That was the first sign that we might have been altogether spared, but the downed lines meant no electricity. The rain was still falling hard, and I got the mutts dried off and knew the fence would be down, or at least shorted out. But there was nothing to do but wait and be happy the loved were still living.
Tuesday morning the rain was still falling but lightly. The fence was truly dead but I had no time to walk it to find out where, or how many wheres, it might be down or shorted. But the electricity was back on and the loved were still living. Tuesday afternoon I returned to find all four still inside the fence, and I had time to walk it and repair any damage. There were a dozen small limbs that had fallen in the fence, more than half culprits capable of shorting the wire out, and I have waited too long to lop the vines that like to use my fence as a ladder. A fence is never any better than its maintenance. I took the time to cut vines off at the ground and pull them off the small trees near the fence. I have to trespass on my neighbor’s side of the fence soon to kill off the vines coming in off his property. But overall, after walking nearly three quarters of the perimeter, I felt like maybe I had gotten off lucky. That changed rapidly.
One tree had fallen on two and all three were locked in an embrace over the Southeast corner of the fence. There was nothing to be done about it but get the axe and the bush hook, and begin the process of cutting limbs and branches. On my way to the shed I realized a tree on the interior of the property had fallen, I remember this one; it was decayed and weak in the middle and leaned over to the west. It down lay to the east, pushed over by the wind. Worse still, it had crashed into a long dead tree out with its falling. The long dead tree always reminded me of the tail of a Stegosaurus. For fifteen years I have admired the shape of that dead tree and for fifteen years I have always wondered when it would fall. It leans now, soon to fall, and its long stand will be over. Now that I was in the interior I saw two or three more trees, each of them with some imperfection it its posture, and each and all of them lying on the ground now, to be reincorporated and perhaps reincarnated. The job at hand is to remove the trees from the fence. I check the sun and most move with alacrity if I am to finish before dark.
The tree that fell was a fairly young Oak, no older than fifty years or so and it was much more bushy than it was tall. The two trees which sought to break its fall were smaller trees of an unknown species but one of them smell of gum. The Oak was the only one whose flesh would put up a fight and I stopped to consider the work.
There were three limbs I could remove and the tree’s effect on the fence would be ended. One, of them was smaller and stuck out away from the main trunk. This was easy to decide and to cut. I lopped that one in less than ten minutes and advanced. Another one was removed but it was thicker and now I began to pant with the exertion. I had no position on the third and instead went further down the tree, which made it a thicker cut, but it also gave me a better position to swing from with the axe and the bush hook. It also created an unbalanced point with the part of the tree that still hung over the eastern part of the fence. With this cut I would clear the Southern portion of the corner and with luck, be able to use the unbalanced point against the tree and merely pull it away from the fence at the eastern portion of the corner.
The crown of every bushy tree is something to consider when cutting. It can be a jungle of onerous and intertwined limbs that befuddle the mind and befoul the axe. Or it can be used as a whole, each of the limbs helping support the tree for cutting, and a pivot point to turn or flip the crown itself. This one supports itself enough for me to push it to the side and not have to hack my way into it. An hour of work is saved, and an hour of daylight is not needed.
The Steg Tree has been pushed forward enough that it will fall soon and its lean is its final death sentence. Yet my ancient friend in the Southwest corner remains upright and unharmed. The mightiest Oak on my property is unscathed. The loved still live. My home still stands. I live to chop, and write, another day.
|The Stig Tree|
|The Stig Tree|
|My Giant Tree Survived!|