Two weeks ago, we took down the 30-foot spruce tree that adorned our side yard. Bryan had talked about doing this for years, but I was resistant to the idea. I loved the tree. It was very north woods, and if I blocked out the surrounding suburban capes, I could pretend, as I sat on the patio, that we were living somewhere in Vermont.
Bryan doesn't like to hire professionals. And to his credit, he is a jack-of-all trades. But that didn't make me any less apprehensive about his insistence on taking on the task himself. But he was right: the tree did need to come down. When he took a few branches off, I could see that it was leaning quite precariously in the direction of our bedroom.
My friend Anne and I returned from a trail run on the designated morning to find the kids running in the yard, and Bryan heading for the tree with a chainsaw. Anne looked frightened, but tried to keep her composure. "He's, uh, really just gonna go right at it, huh?" She looked at the kids, who were oblivious to the scene.
I laughed, because I knew he was just making a few cuts. Anne was relieved.
After clearing off all of the bottom branches, Bryan found some straps and tied the tree to the trailer hitch on the pickup truck. We sent the kids and the dog next door, and I was instructed to "put my foot on the gas, gently, until the tree starts to lean."
Not a difficult task, but one I was hesitant to take on nonetheless. I did as Bryan said, then turned back. I was aware of two things happening in the same moment: Bryan yelling either "Noooo!" or "Go!"(the distinction seemed an important one), and the tree falling straight toward the bed of the truck, and, by association, me.
I was motionless for a few seconds, stunned. The tree is falling, I thought. The tree is going to fall on me.
And then I heard a "thump," and it was over. And the tree was in the middle of the yard, having just missed the truck's bumper. No damage to the garden. A perfect bullseye.
Here are the part-time arborists cleaning up the mess.