I was chain sawing junk trees at my place at Snowbird, in far western North Carolina. Live trees. I usually leave the dead ones alone because they’re a lot more dangerous. Besides, some birds like them and they’ll fall down one of these days without my help. No point in taking a chance.
But this particular dead Hemlock stuck its tongue out at me, so to speak, so I had no choice. I had to cut it.
What makes dead trees so much more dangerous is that when they fall they sometimes break apart and fall every which way.
I was standing on the side of a hill, knee deep in debris, when I cut this one and as it began to fall, I looked up. It was tall and I saw that it had broken into two pieces, neither of which threatened me.
And then, in a flash, a question entered my mind, from where I don’t know. My subconscious? Some corner of my mind that wanted desperately to live?
The question: “Where’s the rest of it?”
I craned my head back a little further and I saw the rest of it, a third section falling straight toward me.
I couldn’t run. Like I said, I was knee deep in debris. Instead I wheel around and held my Huskie — my chain saw — out behind me, causing me to fall backward into the brush. The third section fell where I had been standing.
The debris saved my legs and feet. I was saved by a question: “Where’s the rest of it?”
Coming Monday: Location, Location, Location