I watched unbelievably as the whole neighborhood turned out to see a tree-cutting drama that threatened to take out either my beautiful oak, a neighborhood’s home, and/or numerous cars and trucks. In a cramped neighborhood with houses barely 30 to 50 feet apart like tiny mushrooms at the foot of giant 80- to 100-foot trees, two weekend warriors tied a rope to one of the tallest trees (less than a foot from a house), attached the rope from the tree to a relatively small Catepillar loader/skidsteer, cut through the tree, and hoped for the best.
I have lived with that beautiful oak for 24 years. Hugged it to save it from the original construction; paid big bucks for a new water line rather than cut its roots when they fractured the old; and now watched helplessly as two hopeful humans tried to use it to deflect the fall of the offending tree. Each time the Caterpillar reared on its hind wheels under the stress of the tree’s resistance, I felt my tree groan and I imagined with all of my being that the rope would snap. And it did. Four times the rope snapped.
The hopeful humans repositioned the Caterpillar in hopes the offending tree would slide along the two long branches of the oak that was stubbornly supporting it. After a couple of snaps of the rope, the tree did slide — only to be caught by a tall, thin, toothpick of a tree that refused to give it up. That’s what you see in this pix — the offending tree in the middle with its branches wrapped tenuously around the giant toothpick.
One of the now not-so- hopeful humans was heard to say “there’s no hope” as he appraised the situation. But hope springs eternal, so a plan was hatched to drop the giant toothpick so the offending tree would fall. At this point, these guys had a “let’s just get it down” mentality and they proceeded as if the laws of physics never existed.
You’ll see in the video of the fiasco, that the giant toothpick did come down and freed the offending tree so it slammed to the cul-de-sac, too.
My beautiful oak still stands though there are two sizeable branches that are now known as “widowmakers” that dangle over my neighbor’s driveway. I don’t know what else to do but hope those don’t fall earthward.
It was mega-director James Cameron who cautioned that “hope is not a strategy for success.” I don’t know how he would have directed this scene, but I can’t help thinking that he would have planned it as thoroughly as a land and sea invasion. He would have left nothing to chance.