Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pennsylvania Chainsaw Massacre

The endless, droning buzz began at daybreak.  I pulled the pillow around my ears in an attempt to muffle the annoying sound.  It was pointless.  Finally at 6AM I gave in and climbed out of bed, only to discover that my across-the-street-neighbor was at it again.

A sudden horror gripped me as I remembered the last time I had heard that unmistakable sound. . .
It was a beautiful autumnal day in the neighborhood.  Blue skies.  White fluffy clouds.  A balmy, lazy Sunday in the Frozen North.  Sitting at the computer, I noticed a distinct buzzing begin.  It went on, and ON, and ON.  I glanced out the window.  Our chainsaw wielding across-the-street-neighbor was hard at work on a huge pine tree near the road.

I returned to the computer, shaking my head in wonder at why anyone would chose to kill a perfectly good tree.  Trees are a majestic thing of beauty.  The unrelenting nature of the Texas sun teaches you the importance of the shade they provide. 

 For a few moments I considered grabbing some plastic cable ties and binding myself to the besieged tree in an act of solidarity with that helpless giver of shade.  My reverie was interrupted by sudden silence. The silence was quickly followed by a loud crack,  the swooshing sound of branches falling, then more quiet.

An ominous quiet. 

The kind of quiet that falls when all your electricity goes out.  I rushed to the window a second time.  Terror seized me as I beheld the sight of a pine tree precariously balanced across the power lines that run along the  guilty neighbor's side of the street.


I kicked myself for not grabbing the cable ties when I had my chance, bowed my head in a few moments of silence for the tree, then grabbed my camera and parked myself under the shade of an old apple tree in our front yard. I patted the trunk assuringly,  "You have nothing to fear on this side of the street my old friend."

From this perspective, I chronicled the ensuing events.

It wasn't too long before the first of many power and cable company trucks made its appearance. The first power representative seemed to be there just to confirm the fact that there was a tree on the lines, and hear first hand the sordid details of how it came to be there.


He left, and was followed by a brave man with a cherry picker mounted on the back of his utility truck.


The cherry picker guy ceremoniously donned his gear, mounted the bucket, and carefully raised himself to the place where tree and wire met.  He cut a few branches, ceremoniously removed his gear, and drove off.


For the next two hours numerous vehicles came...




and left.

Hours later, the tree was removed and the power restored, leaving me with two lingering lessons: never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line (name that film), and never underestimate the power of a western PA neighbor with a chainsaw in his hand.