It was a hot and humid day, just the sort that usually gets still and very close around sundown. Today, instead, the wind began to pick up, and as I sat in the living room between the front and back doors, I could tell the wind was really freshening the air. We were about to get the tail end of the tropical storm they'd called Barry which had hit the southeast earlier in the week.
I love the wind. So I decided I would take the Sunday paper out and sit on my swing and enjoy not only the wind, but the coolness and dryness it was blowing in. The dogs came out with me, and enjoyed ambling around the yard while I sat sipping coffee and reading. Finally, they both laid down in front of the swing. The winds were quite high, and occasionally the gusts really picked up to a gale. I loved it. I actually even consciously thought, "What a perfect evening. The wind. The coolness. My lovely dogs." One of those "it doesn't get better than this" moments.
We were out there quite a while. I'd pretty much finished the paper. I decided to go in and get another cup of coffee and come back out to enjoy the last of the light before we called it an evening. So, I got up, gathered the paper, and headed in. I opened the screen door. The dogs went inside, and I realized I'd forgotten my coffee cup. I shut the door and returned to the swing to retrieve it.
That's when I heard the **crack** behind me. When I looked up, I saw a tree falling toward me.
It missed. It missed the swing. It missed the fence. It missed the tractor. It missed the lawn mower. It missed the dogs who had been laying directly in its path just seconds earlier. It missed me. If it had been felled by an expert woodsman, it could not have fallen more precisely in my crowded back yard and missed so much.
It didn't miss some plastic lawn furniture, a couple of patches of day lilies, and the edge of my magnificent old lilac bush.
I am, however, not complaining.
I owe the tree. I had the tree man top my old ash. He hated to do it, but the only other option, because of the structural damage done when the huge bough which had fallen tore off of the main trunk, would have been to take her down. I really felt I owed her a chance.
I know when I am lucky. As I look at my dogs lying here beside me, I am glad that the tears I've shed today have been for my tree. I'm sorry she's been damaged. I'm grateful for how things occurred. I will do my best to help her make it, with water, and careful tending, and always, with my gratitude.
When I say "bough," don't think "branch." What fell was as big as most trees themselves ever get. Here Hudson and Crow sit next to what missed us, demonstrating how big it was. We were very, very fortunate to have just gotten up and come inside.