Trees a Fallin’

Leave it to the weather to give us an adventure. Another wind storm tore through our woods starting New Year’s day for the next few days following. This wind was deciding selective, knocking down most of the dead or unstable trees in our area. Nature’s cleaning of the woods.

We first saw one tree fall right on our property line. We actually all heard the crash and ran to the windows. It was a dead Alder and one that needed to go. Luckily it took out nothing else around it.

As we went to bed that night, we all felt a little worried. What would the morning bring? We speculated on what other trees might succumb to the wind.  One tree that worried us most was an old Maple that was half dead. The trunk was hollow and only half the tree was still alive. However, the half that was alive was vibrant and beautiful. We had tree specialists tell us to cut it down, as it would fall someday. We hadn’t yet headed their warnings, partly due to a secret desire to keep this beautiful tree that offered shelter and lush green in the summer and amazing golden highlights in the fall.

So, we watched this tree in the wind. Both my husband and I noticed it didn’t sway much. It seemed sheltered by the tall Firs around it and since it was barren of leaves this time of year – the wind blew through it. We went to bed without much worry that would be the tree to fall… and actually a bit more concerned that some dead trees across the road might land on our front fence and power lines.

Overnight, somewhere in our little town, a big tree did fall. It knocked out power to over 1000 households, including ours. I woke up in the middle of the night and noticed the power was out. It actually remained out until past noon the next day… around 9 hours.

Sometime at first light that morning, my daughter, half asleep, came into our room mumbling about a tree down. My husband jumped up and ran to the window. She proceeded to tell us it was the tree we talked about, the old Maple we knew that would fall someday. The crash had awoken her, as her bedroom window looked out over where the tree once stood.

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The tree had cracked and fallen. Its time had come. It was no surprise, really. However, I was a bit surprised about the path it took. Instead of falling downhill, in the direction of the wind, it instead fell uphill towards the south. This meant the tree didn’t fall on the goat shelter, but instead on the corner of the pasture – knocking out two fences. When standing and reflecting on the damage, it seemed clear that the weight of the tree is what brought it down in that direction. While gravity and wind force were enough to crack the trunk, the tree fell in the direction of where the weight was… towards the side where it was the heaviest due to being half a tree.

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