Ten years ago today – the forest tried to reclaim me…
Twice in the past ten years I’ve had close encounters with trees. In 2009, I was hiking in a park with my husband. This was a heavily wooded park in Ann Arbor, MI with mainly deciduous trees, some coniferous. And we heard a tell-tale creaking sound which got louder and more insistent – and sure enough, a tree was starting to do a face plant with the earth, while we were in its path! We both had to run to get out of its way, which thankfully we did.
Me 1, tree 0. Clearly this battle (from 2009) featuring me vs. tree could have ended either way! Note my WTF facial expression…
Some tree facts:
World’s tallest trees – Giant Redwoods (native to California)
World’s oldest tree: A 5,062-year-old tree in the White Mountains of California
This tree’s name is Methusalah, a bristlecone pine from California, which was, up until 2013, the world’s oldest living tree. The current oldest living tree is a cousin of this tree that looks very similar. A tree like this? You call it MISTER Methusalah!
Rewind about 18 months or so – and I was driving to work along a popular commuter road which runs near a golf course, and through some high-ticket real estate areas. It’s also a heavily forested area, and it’s not uncommon to see deer and other wildlife along this route, especially in the wee hours. I especially like it when I see turkeys grazing out in one of the empty fields. It’s also a speed trap, so I make sure I don’t go more than 40-45 mph here. All of that said, traffic that morning came to a stop, and there was only one car in front of me that wasn’t moving. Why? A tree fell down across the road. Not surprising, the winds were pretty heavy the previous night. The car’s driver, an adult male who appeared to be in his 40s-50s, was walking over to the tree as though he was going to try moving it.. I managed to turn my car around and find an alternate route to work. I could tell by looking at the tree that it wasn’t going to respond to some puny human trying to move it – only a chainsaw and chipper shredder would teach THAT thing manners! That tree covered the entire width of the road and had a trunk that was maybe about 10-12 inches wide! This wasn’t a puny tree.
I called the county road commission, and actually got a human on the phone. I explained what had happened, where it happened, yada yada. I was very surprised to be talking to a human at a county office at 5:50 a.m. on a weekday morning! I was expecting to leave a message, which I’m pretty good at doing (years and years of practice)… So even though I didn’t attempt to help this dude move the tree, I at least did SOMETHING!
By the time I got a chance to reflect upon all of this, I’m thinking…WTF? Why is the forest trying to take me back? What have I done to cause ill will with the forest? I’m the child of a hippie mom! I recycle! I know, I know – it was a silly coincidence – an accident. But it does make me think I should be buying lottery tickets more often. Someone managed to crunch some statistics involving the risk of death by trees and figured that the average human (who plays the lottery regularly) is 75 times more likely to win a lottery than to be killed by a falling tree. Read more about this here.
Clearly trees are NOT things you want to rile up! This one is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore! Quickbeam the Ent from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
There’s a Cat Stevens song called King of Trees that I’ve enjoyed listening to since I was a little kid. But one of the lines from the song is really resonating with me today:
The forest and the evergreens…are coming to take me back.
I don’t want this blog to take TOO dark of a turn, but… don’t be surprised if I wind up meeting my maker at the hands of a tree someday! I guess there are worse ways to go (just make it quick, please…I don’t want any long suffering The Revenant stuff, please lovely forest whom I love)!