If A Tree Falls…

Dearest Rachel –

It was a little after five in the morning when it happened. I was in the middle of a dream about a young husband (not me, obviously) trying to raise a ridiculous amount of money – some $800 million or so – for his wife’s medical expenses, and succeeding to the tune of several billion, with the help of a viral marketing campaign from one of those online donation platforms and some notorious industrial-sized house of ill-repute (please, don’t ask – I couldn’t give you details even if I wanted to), when I was jarred awake by a thunderous crashing noise.

I naturally assumed from the start that the transformer behind our house had been hit; it wouldn’t be the first time. However, when I pulled off my sleep mask and attempted to examine my surroundings, I realized that everything was still running. Granted, my alarm clock has a battery backup, so that was no proof of anything, but there were other small lights on elsewhere in the room to indicate that we still had power. I tried to recall what it was that I had heard – more to the point, what I hadn’t heard, such as a sizzling sound indicating that something carrying electricity had been damaged. So that began to make sense.

Indeed, when I made my way into the sunroom to take stock of the situation, I couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Then again, it wasn’t as if I could see anything at all; the noise may have been perfectly loud enough to wake people like me (especially since, not having had anything to do last night and having still been fatigued from my hour at the gym, I was in bed before ten last night, which you’ll know is unusually early even for me), the sun is not about to shift its schedule for something so trivial as… whatever this was. So the mystery wasn’t going to be resolved by any immediate observation.

Unable to determine anything by a cursory observation, especially in such dim lighting, I returned to the bedroom to see if I couldn’t go back to sleep (although I found myself having to write at least this much down beforehand, so the likelihood is going to be slim) and puzzle over what might have happened to cause such a racket.

It couldn’t have been an auto accident out in front of the house; that would have involved more and varied noises, rather than a single crashing sound. There would have been shattering glass, scraping metal – and probably a few people yelling at each other about it, even if it only involved one car (because a noise that loud and that near might well have involved a house). Besides, I was pretty confident that the noise was near the bedroom, and any accident out front would have been decidedly more muffled than that, at least from where I was able to hear it.

I concluded that it had to have been a tree falling; they were prone to, after all. We’d had a lot of experience with that in our time in this house, what with the proximity of them to the house. We’d had a corner taken off of the yellow room back in the day by the next-door neighbor’s tree, and when we couldn’t convince our insurance company to help them remove (or at least cut back the tree), they ended up paying for it when the same tree put a hole in our bedroom roof. That was, you’ll recall, when we finally got that ceiling fan as part of the repair process, to keep the room at least reasonably cool during the summer. But after dealing with that (and only then convincing the neighbors to remove that tree), our insurance company was tired of paying for such nonsense and dumped us. Pity, too; the company we switched to hasn’t had to pay a dime since.

But it wasn’t always our house that was hit; as I mentioned before, we’ve had storms that dropped trees and branches on the electrical wires that hang between our yard and our backyard neighbors’ that had cut off the power for extended periods (albeit not since you’ve been gone, as far as I can tell, although we’ve had the occasional outage now and then). So, it may have been that. But since I saw nothing from the sunroom this morning, it begs the question: if a tree falls in a subdivision, and it causes no damage, does it really matter?


As it turns out, I was almost right. While the sun hasn’t exactly made an appearance, it’s not for lack of trying; when the clouds get in his way, it’s not as if he’s able to push through and shed his light on the earth. So we have to make do with however much they allow in, and it’s still considerably more than I had to work with at five-thirty. Anyway, here’s what I saw on our deck:

Yep, it was a tree (or at least, a sizable branch) falling right outside the bedroom window, just like I thought.

The only thing I got wrong had to do with the same reason that I dismissed the possibility of an auto accident – there had been a shattering of a glass and a bending of metal upon impact that I hadn’t been able to discern when it happened. Then again, I was barely awake at the moment, and it’s not like we get instant replays in real life in order to get a handle on anything that happens to us.

And as much as there’s a sense of irritation at losing that old glass patio table (and having to clean up the mess that’s left behind by the impact), I find myself going back to the original question: does it really matter? we hadn’t been using the deck, let alone on the patio table, for years, even before you had to go. It – and the chairs that we surrounded it with – would get so dirty, sitting out there in the rain, that we hardly ever wanted to use them; it was only ever at Erin’s insistence that we would bother to eat outside, and it usually felt like more trouble than it was worth.

So, the mystery’s been solved, we’re out the table (which again, is going to be a pain to clean up, but what can you do?), and life goes on. Not sure if it really matters, but I figured I might as well fill you in on what’s been happening this morning, for whatever you might think it’s worth.

Anyway, keep an eye on me and Daniel, and wish us luck. We’re going to need it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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