A few years ago one autumn day I stopped by Redquarters, my parents’ house, on my way back from a research trip and spent the night. Storms, mostly wind but with some rain, blew through overnight the way they tend to do on the High Plains. Around two or three in the morning I got up to answer nature’s call and thought, “Hmm, kinda windy out,” then went back to sleep.
The next morning, around 0630, I got up and walked past the front windows. An overcast sky hid the sun, and I glanced out at the driveway. “That’s an odd place for a bush” I thought, then continued on to load the coffee pot and put some tea water on to boil. Whoa, waitaminnit. Last night nothing was growing in the driveway. I backtracked, adjusted my glasses, and discovered that the neighbor’s tree had fallen over, across the flowerbed and onto my parents drive and my pickup. Remember the scene in the movie of “Fellowship of the Ring” where Boromir states, rather calmly, “Oh, a cave troll”? Yeah. “Oh, there’s a tree on my truck.”
As it turned out, the ailing locust tree barely missed the pickup. A little work with saber saws and a hacksaw were enough to get the biggest stuff out of the way and I moved the pickup. What’s funny, since no major damage was done by the suicidal tree, was how fast word spread that the storm had dropped the tree. Apparently it was the only one in town to blow over, and a steady parade of people with cell-phone cameras began driving past, immortalizing the rather pathetic remains of the small-ish tree.
People are odd.