Sunday, July 01, 2007

If a Tree Falls:

This day in north central Florida started out quite nicely. The Clog-wife and I walked the 3-legged corgi (he rides in a Western Flyer red wagon when he tires) first thing this morning. The early light was filtering through the trees, the cardinals and wrens were up and busy, and the sunflowers in the butterfly garden were looking eastward to the rising sun. Everything pointed to a lovely Sunday.

I had to change my mower's oil and filter so hopped in the car to run to the local small-town hardware store that's usually open on Sunday (one of 3 hardware stores within a block of each other in the old town center). I'd just made it onto the blacktop when I noticed a clumping and vibrating and thought "bad tire". Not fifteen seconds later I was regaled with a terrible whanging of loose tread beating the fender well. The tread drummed a noisy tattoo as we limped the short trip home at five miles per hour through our (up to that point) quiet neighborhood, thankful I hadn't chosen to hop on the interstate and head for the big city.

I rode my bicycle back downtown only to find that all the hardware stores were closed. I pedaled home and fixed the mower the old-fashioned way - washed the filter in gasoline and used what motor oil I had in the shed. So the lawn got mowed, just as the wind whipped up and thunder clouds darkened the sky. We worked inside while a good hard rain and the wind lashed about outside.

After the rain and a nice meal, Clog-wife and I were back outside walking the dog again. She noticed that our neighbor had another tree down. Then we realized that it was an old chinaberry tree from the corner of our yard. I'll volunteer to stay home tomorrow and help him cut it up and put the pieces out for the city to haul away. I'm sorry for the smashed fence, and sorry that the tree took out one of the palm trees he's planted and has been nursing through the long drought we've suffered through these past months. Still, I'm glad it didn't hit our or his wooden storage sheds. Even more glad the truly big trees in the yard didn't fall: a tall branchy camphor and a massive southern red oak with a trunk as big around as a phone booth (remember those?). The camphor would demolish our shed, and the oak would certainly hit our home, or the neighbors'. We've got our fingers crossed as we guardedly pass through the 2007 hurricane season that is just underway.

The tree must have fallen in the height of the storm - we didn't even hear it go down.

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