Earlier this summer an overnight storm with a powerful, gusty wind heaved rain against the windows. It wasn’t a pitter-patter, it was a grim, fervent assault on the alfresco world. Raindrops landed like tiny bombs, thunder clattered and boomed, lightning zagged — the night erupted in pyrotechnics on a grand scale, seemingly accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. It was impressive.
Violent weather is thrilling. It sounds so totally cataclysmic, almost world ending, in the dark. Thunder explodes and imagination runs wild, conjuring scenes of horror and annihilation. I watched and listened, awestruck
With daylight came understanding and a crew bearing power tools, six men strong. The trunk of the tree outside my window had split in the storm, a jagged gash ran the full length. It was an old, sprawling elm, probably a hundred years or more, weakened and sick, but still in full leaf. The crew swarmed around it, churning and inspecting, looking upward. They wore dusty red helmets securely fastened with chin straps and red t-shirts with the company name and logo. Trucks with buckets and extensions and flat beds idled nearby.
The way the crew went about their work reminded me of minions, the dudes from The Despicables. They dashed around, retrieving limbs as they fell, victims of the roaring chainsaws. Once strong, sturdy branches were lopped, sectioned and stacked, then hauled away or fed into a giant chipper/shredder.
In two short hours, scattered leaves were all that remained of a once majestic tree. Watching something so proud and noble being brought to its knees is just plain sad. And after my recent bike accident, I have a deep, symbiotic understanding of that whole decaying process.
I, too, got sent to my knees and I, too, am hobbled — faltering. Remember Fargo and Steve Buscemi? My nightmare.