Posted on April 14, 2015
We had quite the storm the other night. Thunder, lightning and fierce winds. I could hear twigs snapping and cans getting knocked over. With Rocket-man away it was easy for The Poodle to quickly find his way onto Rocket-man’s side of the bed. Poodle was shaking and panting with fear as thunder loudly rolled through the heavens. I covered him with the blanket, packing it tightly around him, and tried to get back to sleep.
At first light I walked out onto the back patio to survey the after-effects of the storm. Fallen tree branches littered the yard and leafy debris made for quite a mess on the patios.
I know I’m gonna raise eyebrows, but I have a confession: I’m not a fan of trees. Sometimes, I even hate them.
Well…not all trees.
I love Aspen trees and River Birch. Crepe Myrtle too. But the Aspen tree is my favorite tree. There is nothing more spectacular than seeing their fall colors of bright gold, strikingly breathtaking against a Colorado blue sky. And, though some folks say Aspen leaves ‘quake’ and others say they ‘tremble’ even in the slightest breeze, I prefer to think the leaves are dancing with joy…so aware they are of their magnificent beauty.
Of course, there are no Aspen trees in this here “middle earth.” They thrive in colder climates; in the northern part of the U.S. In my humble opinion, the trees on Little Mountain are ugly. I think most of my neighbors would disagree with me. That’s perfectly alright. Most of them are upset that the developer keeps tearing trees down on lots in preparation of building more houses. Me? I’m almost thrilled. Most of these trees are tall, skinny with sadly thin trunks and often quite scraggly looking. So many of the them are barely rooted in the soil because of all the rock. Around my yard and in the neighborhood there are just too many of these sickly looking trees to find a measure of beauty in them. And, when a little wind whips up, there are tree carcasses to step over or drive around when all is done.
Two and a half years ago when we moved into our lovely abode we had to have sixteen trees taken down. Before you call me a tree murderer, understand that most of the trees were quite dead—or on the brink— and others precariously close to the house where they could cause a great deal of damage in the event of a storm. Even the “little” ones that send The Poodle running for cover.
But the real reason I hate these trees? Fear. Yep….I have tree fear to add to my list!
It may seem irrational to some…but to me, it is a rational fear based on experience.
I was in my teens when our family lost a good friend to a tree. It happened when we lived in Colorado. After a spring snow that left a good eight inches or so on the ground our friend went out to shovel snow from the sidewalk in front of his home. A tree branch broke under the weight of wet snow, landing on top of his head. He was dead in an instant and so too, in essence, was the wife he left behind that terrible day; she never recovered from losing her soul mate and their family was left forever as broken as that tree.
Years later we saw the effects of a downed tree on our neighbors house after a freak late summer storm. Luckily, no one was injured but there would be thousands of dollars of damage to contend with.
And, just a couple of years ago, I witnessed a near-fatal accident involving a palm tree in Hawaii. A group of us were sightseeing in downtown Honolulu. It was a typically windy day and I remember feeling very uncomfortable being surrounded by so many tall, slim, palm trees swaying back and forth in the strong wind. Sure enough, just as our group was getting ready to enter the Honolulu Museum of Art we heard a loud crash. Turning towards the sound, we saw that a very tall palm tree on the premises of the museum had fallen over, crashing down on a car that was in moving traffic in front of the museum. It completely crushed the roof of the car, trapping the driver inside. We all went rushing to the driver’s aide. My stomach nearly hurled at the sight; broken glass and blood everywhere. Fortunately, emergency responders were on the scene within a matter of minutes and the driver survived. Still the image of that day remains and every time I see these trees on Little Mountain sway violently in the wind I cringe with fear. Naturally, my fear makes walking with The Poodle mighty unpleasant for me in windy conditions, particularly when I round the corner near my house and see a tree, perched high above, that is barely rooted…as if with one foot planted and the other ready to sprint forward…and down off the mountain.
“That tree is a recipe for disaster,” I tell Rocket-man in that anxious voice he knows so well…the one usually reserved for insects in the house. We were out on an afternoon walk with The Poodle. ” We must walk on the other side of the street.”
He complies. He knows my fear. He knows most all of my fears.
I’m lucky that he does not call me irrational; he doesn’t berate or make fun of me. I’ve experienced a lot of that in my lifetime. He simply quietly takes hold of my hand and guides me gently away from the source of my fear.
My thought in that moment? Sure…. my Rocket-man does not write me poetry…nor letters of love…and, he is away too often and he can be so stubborn that it makes my head pop. But, when he is around, he does everything in his power to make me feel safe in a world that is anything but.
That’s my bliss. 🙂