I didn’t know what it was, but I did know when it was.
It was at 12:30 a.m. Woke me right up. I didn’t rule out earthquake for the first couple seconds. Rumble crack shlump crackle crackle thunk boom. But no actual shaking. It sounded like a tree coming down just outside my bedroom window. The trees just outside my bedroom window aren’t really substantial enough to have made that much noise. The only tree that would conceivably be a threat is in Anna’s yard next door, and if it goes down, it could take us both out. Anna and I think that would be an acceptable sacrifice if the alternative is taking down a massive old Western cedar with a lively clientele of birds and mammals in it. That tree was big when we got here and we’ve been here 43 years. Anna’s a tree person. I am too, now that we got rid of that dumb scarlet oak I never liked. Now I’m all on board for the trees. As it were.
Anyway, I popped right out of bed and looked out the window, and everything looked totally normal, except for several tons of ice on everything. My power line was bouncing a little, and I concluded a big shelf of snow had slid off the roof. I went back to sleep.
What’s that word for taking pleasure in someone else’s pain? Skunkenfrond? Fritzenshizzle? It’s not nice.
I’m not always nice.
The next morning, as we blundered out in the sunshine to the sound of general artillery as the neighborhood shook off its ice, the mystery was solved. As it would have been the night before if I’d put on my glasses. A large tree had fallen down, across the street. On a car.
The tree, a 40-year-old Cotinus, was the last tree left in our neighbor’s small front yard, after he’d had two massive, beautiful, healthy conifers taken down, ostensibly because he worried they might fall on his house. They were never going to fall on his house. The Cotinus that he left behind, however, came down upended root-ball and all, no longer having any support from the root system of the murdered trees. Oops!
Sadly, it did not fall down on any of that neighbor’s oversized gas hogs, but instead on his neighbor’s car, which was not much of a car, but it was all he had. So I feel bad for him. Sort of. He did use the car to run the occasional errand, but mostly he used it as a sound system. He has a fondness for insanely repetitive thumpa thumpa music with autotuned singing and naughty lyrics, and apparently that cannot be fully appreciated unless it’s at a volume that dissolves kidney stones in the next block. Sometimes, in fact, it’s best appreciated at one in the morning. Some of the individual songs are so dang appreciatable that they need to be played over and over again for an hour.
And now, there’s a tree on all that.
Not only that, but there was a large squirrel’s nest in that Cotinus that I’ve been noticing for a while that looked like it contained some items that previously belonged to me, and I couldn’t quite get the angle with my binoculars to make sure, and now it’s a foot off the ground near a left fender. It sure looks like it was a comfy nest. That is because sure enough it is lined with a brick-sized piece of Poly-Fil stolen from our chair cushion, a bit of thievery that the little shits like to engage in when they’re not stripping insulation from our wiring or assaulting our bird feeder. Sure hope none of them fell on their little punkin heads when the tree came down.
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