Fear and sadness



Our last backyard tree fell this morning. It is the second tree to come crashing down in our yard alone this year. Totalling four tall, mature trees that have died or fallen in our yard, nine trees in all from three adjacent backyards. So depressing. And VERY scary. It was hard for me to initially comprehend, but maybe that was because it was scarcely 6am. We were lucky it landed sideways, missing our house and the neighbor’s, just shattering the fence and doing minor damage to our neighbor’s yard. We had three removal bids today and it is going to cost us almost a thousand dollars to deal with. Basically, a small fortune gone in one fell swoop.

One thing I learned today is that in Oregon, a tragedy like this is considered an “act of God, ” meaning that we are not responsible for the tree or damage in our neighbor’s yard. Technically, we could cut the bottom of the trunk off at the fenceline and leave everything else for our neighbor to deal with. Apparently, it is quite a common occurance. But who would do such a thing? The tree was ours, in our yard (although very close to the fenceline), and the way I see it, we are responsible for it’s removal. This neighbor is very old, and stays in his house most of the time. He didn’t even hear it fall (!), so luckily he’s in no rush to have it gone.

Photo from last spring. Sadly, no one can seem to identify this tree.
Every one of the trees shown has either died, fallen or been removed this year.

What I’ll miss most, the fragrant white petals that drifted down like snow in early spring.

The wind has been terrible this year, and the rains worse than usual. The ground here is mainly an underlayer of clay. As far as anyone can tell, the surplus of water has simply rotted the roots of the trees in this particular area, allowing the high winds to sweep them over, ripping the roots out of the ground and pulling up grass like thick carpeting. Even now I can hear it howling outside and feel afraid. Our backyard may now be barren, but there are two huge, mostly-dead remaining poplar trees in our back neighbor’s yard (his enormous oak fell a few months back). We’ve all been very lucky so far, but what about next time? What if one falls and crushes us as we’re sleeping tonight? Both bedrooms sit together at the other end of the house, offering little protection for us or the baby. It is a weird situation, and I feel helpless. Short of sleeping in a hotel during windy days there is not much I can do. So I hope for the best. Hope that his remaining trees will have deeper roots that are impervious to the excess water, or that they’ll fall as serendipitously as ours, or that he’ll soon be able to afford to have them removed as he did with the others in his yard. I don’t know, but I pray that we’ll all be safe. And that Barkley will stop nervously pacing and panting, as if he knows something else is going to happen.

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8 thoughts on “Fear and sadness

  1. How horrible!
    Get someone to evaluate the rest of the trees, get all the neighbors to pitch in.

    Be safe.

  2. Oh, no, Emily. How scary! Our neighbors tree fell last summer and just missed a little girl. Like you need to hear those stories. Anyway, glad you’re all safe and sound.

  3. Crazy! I am so glad you are all alright although with a more bare backyard:-(

  4. That is scary! I agree that piece of mind would be worth the price of getting an evaluation of the rest of your trees. I wonder if some freecycler would come and take your fallen tree away for firewood.

  5. Geese-o-Pete! So glad you all were ok. And it is always so sad when a tree dies…:( Maybe you all can as a family plant another somewhere, your neighborhood or elsewhere… And ouch on the price! Good tip on checking out freecycle (or craig’s list).

  6. Thanks so much for the good advice and thoughts. Basically, there are no more trees left, except for the two mostly dead poplars in the neighbor’s yard. We spoke to several arborists who said it was mostly the water pooling below, and improper planting of the trees in our clay soil 60+ years ago. We’ll have to run another french drain if we want to plant another tree. And yes, we’re going to offer the wood for free on Craigslist. Nobody knows what kind of tree this is but it is beautiful hardwood (makes me wish again that we had a fireplace!). It means just a small break in the price, plus lots of cleanup on our end, but it is something at least.

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