LESLIE CRISS: Leaning tree finally takes big bite out of wooden fence

By Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal

“The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, and then dead timber. The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.”
– Willa Cather
If a tree falls across my backyard, and I’m several miles away eating Chinese food, does it make a sound? And will anyone know it has fallen?
The answer to both questions is yes.
I believe it made a sound because the three dogs that live at our house were antsy for several days, spooked from what they must have heard.
And our very observant and reliable neighbors saw the tree, a very tall member of the sweetgum family, fall.
Our friend Andy said he watched it fall as if it were in slow motion. Then his wife Mitzy texted to see if my roommate and I were home.
“No,” I responded. “We are having an early dinner with friends.”
Then another text from Mitzy. “Do not be alarmed …. but a tree has fallen at your house.”
Of course, at “do not be alarmed” my appetite for the beef and broccoli that had just arrived at our table was lost.
Mitzy assured us the house seemed to be OK, so I picked at my dinner and opened my fortune cookie with great care before heading home to see how lucky we were.
The tree, rooted in another neighbor’s yard, took out about a six-foot section of wooden fence as it began its fall. It came to rest inches (and I’m not exaggerating) from a storage shed, our gazebo and house.
Had it not been for a much smaller tree in its path, the falling tree likely would have moved more to the left and done greater damage to property.
In the famous words of my friend Patrick Langford, “Good there was a tree.”
In the days following the falling of the tree, our dogs had to get used to going outside on a leash, we learned how to file an insurance claim, and we met one of the nicest and most professional folks ever when John Zinzer of American Tree Service returned a frantic Friday night phone call.
Early Saturday morning John showed up to see the downed tree and marvel at our good fortune.
By Monday noon the tree was gone and with it, all the debris.
Thanks, John and crew, for your great work.