Sunday, August 14, 2011

Joyce Kilmer - That Tree-hugging Poet-Guy - Never Lived Here!

So ...what's wrong with this picture?  Well, let me tell you...

In less than three weeks, the “Fall Genealogy Season” will get underway for us.  

Once it starts, that means four events in four different states in a space of six weeks, with me presenting a total of seven talks, (which in turn means reviewing and updating about 650 PowerPoint slides), and packing and unpacking lots of books.  Again and again.

As you might expect, it all takes a bit of planning to make it all work smoothly.  The problem with planning is that the act itself depends heavily upon living in a “steady-state” universe where everything is predictable and unchanging.  There are no emergencies, and no unplanned events allowed or planned for.

Usually, planning is a good thing.  Old trees, however, teach us that we do not live in an unchanging world. Old trees make planning hard.

Today was a well-planned day, or so I thought. I intended to finish the slides for at least two of the talks. I did not, however, plan on the old maple tree, which, apparently had plans of its own.

Who knows how trees make plans?  I certainly don’t.  All I know for certain is that the tree next to the house – a towering maple at least two and a half times the height of our two-storey 18th century house – has been here for more than a century.  Its aged limbs have been pruned and cabled, and, frankly, from the ground, they don’t look very big at all.   

That turned out to be an illusion.

Sometimes, trees get tired from stretching out their shady limbs. Occasionally they shed dead twigs and branches along with leaves. Sometimes, the parts of trees seem to decide “Enough!” and come crashing to the ground.  In a windstorm.  In a snowstorm.  Or sometimes, for no apparent reason at all.

How trees plan their lives is beyond my understanding.

In any case, tree-plans and people-plans rarely work in harmony.  Which is why my plans for today are now very much modified.

The old maple tree, you see, decided to shed one of its massive limbs.  The limb, with all its attendant branches, twigs and leaves, ended up across the driveway - all 40 plus feet of it - blocking all entry and exit.  At its thickest, the fallen limb measures about 59 inches in circumference and thus about 19 inches in diameter.  I figure it’s a good ton and a half of tired old tree that finally decided “enough is enough”.  

Why that was, I don't quite know.  A day or so ago, it seemed quite happy and content to be living about 50 feet up in the air.  

Then, all of a sudden, the limb must have changed its plans.

Fortunately, no people or property were in the way when the limb decided to come down.

So, now we wait for the “Guy Who Knows The Guy With A Truck and a Chainsaw” (the GWKTGWATAAC).  He said he’ll come by sometime later and let us know what can be done and by whom and for how much. 

He would have come sooner, but he had plans, you see.

I gave thought for about 10 seconds to doing it myself, but I'm not much of a "Do It Yourself" kind of guy.  Apparently, my little dinky electric chainsaw wouldn't do much good.

I’m going to go out on a limb here, but who knew that my well-planned day would be interrupted by a massive larger-than-life tree limb that somehow decided that “Fall Genealogy Season” literally meant – “FALL”?

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