“That has got to be the biggest tree I’ve ever taken down,” DW said squinting into the sky.
“I wonder why it died,” I said.
Our lot is very wooded. One of the reasons we chose it, actually. The dense canopy over the back yard makes it near impossible to grow grass and makes it difficult to put up our badminton net. DW has taken down several trees in the last few years, for various reasons. A few were leaning too much towards the house. One was split down the middle, another had become the home to an ant colony. Now we were faced with a very tall, slender tree that towered above our driveway. It’s bare, naked limbs standing out against the fully clothed trees next to it in the yard.
“Perhaps this time we should think about paying someone to take this one down,” I said cautiously, images of DW getting trapped under a fallen tree suddenly scared me to pieces.
“Why pay someone to do something I can do myself?” he said puzzled, getting to work.
I decided to go inside and finish Saturday’s chores.
The tree stood between two smaller, ornamental trees that were planted just past the end of our driveway. Impulsively we had purchased a rather fancy (and expensive) basket ball hoop when we moved in several years ago. The trees are the only part of our household that consistently hang out with the net. Or the neighbor boys. Apparently we have the nicest hoop on the block, and any given afternoon there is usually a handful of boys playing in our driveway. In fact, they keep a stash of balls under the trees for impromptu games. Occasionally, DW shoots a few hoops, but most of the time, it’s because he is waiting for us “girls” to get in the car.
“Um, honey,” I heard DW call to me, “I might have damaged one of the pretty trees.”
I came outside to survey the damage. It seemed minor. His first cut off the big tree was one of the lower branches and it grazed the side of our Crab Apple tree, taking a few branches with it in the process.
“No biggie,” I shrugged, “I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
I suggested again we hire out the rest of the job. There was a very small window for the rest of the tree to fall without incident, missing the ornamental trees. And of course, once it fell, it would all have be cleaned up to use the driveway or get the cars out of the garage.
“I got this,” he assured me.
So I went back inside.
Later, I heard the back door again.
“Em! Em!,” DW called my name, “You gotta come see this!”
The Hare raced out first, I followed a minute or two behind. As I walked out the back door, I saw both DW and The Hare standing feet shoulder width apart, hands on their hips. I could see the enormous carcass sprawled over our driveway. It had fallen perfectly in between the two little trees, but as I walked closer, I realized our basketball hoop was missing. Closer inspection revealed it was twisted and trapped under the fallen carnage, the heavy backboard shattered and the ground was covered in shards of glass.
I pointed to the broken hoop.
“Yeah,” he said sheepishly, “I hadn’t counted on that happening.”
Nodding my head in relief that he hadn’t been hurt, I went back inside. The Hare came running up behind me, flustered.
“Can you believe Dad said he’s not going to replace the net!” she wailed.
“What are you talking about?” I asked confused, “the neighbor boys will just play somewhere else.”
“I’m not worried about the boys!” The Hare exclaimed, “What about me?”
“What about you?” I said.
“I just used that net last Wednesday and now I’ll never be able to use it again!” she whined, stomping back up to the playroom.
“In fact, I miss it already,” she added, muttering under her breath.