Episode XVIII – If a tree should fall…

I then decided that if I was going to be evil, I might as well enjoy it. With that in mind, I swung around the spinning links of destruction into the vulnerable bark. Sawdust spurted out of the jagged incision. Sap ran down the length of my arm and clotted into a sticky gooey mass. Bits of tree clung in my hair and off my clothes. I would have brushed off the organic material, but it was a lost cause. I was going to be forever stained and unclean with tiny bits of tree corpse just like Lady Macbeth and her perpetually bloody hands. Time passed as I concentrated on the gory business I was involved in. Finally, my Grandfather broke the relentless sawing with our prearranged hand signal. I choked off the engine and was deafened by the unnatural, fearful silence.

“Looks good.” He said nonchalantly. “I think we should move away after we give it a good shove so it doesn’t fall on us.”

We moved into position by the fatal wound, and with all of our might, pushed like mismatched bookends until we heard the last tell-tale sound of death from the tree. Loud, painful breaking cracks reverberated across our bones as the stump separated from the remainder of its body. At this point, gravity decided to join our conspiracy against the forest, and with its firm invisible hand, relentlessly yanked at the tottering bole, branches, and everything else that was airborne.

It was at that point when the tree was headed irrevocably to the ground that its fellow plants decided to stage a post-mortem intervention. With dashing un-plant-like swiftness, the surrounding trees caught their comrade in their boughs, and bore him upright, preventing us pesky mammals from desecrating his corpse by chopping it up into log sized bits and burning it. My mouth dropped open in shock. Not only had we killed a tree, it was totally un-useable to us. If we moved it, it would definitely crush us. Collectively, the forest had stymied our conscious brains, or so it seemed.

“I hate it when that happens.” My Grandfather noted in the silence.


“When they do that.” He said, turning, and then looking back at me. “What – you didn’t think we were just going to just give up and walk away, did you?”

“No.” I mumbled, feeling very foolish with the lie.

“Here’s what we’re going to do.” He said as I caught up with him. “We’re going to get that old Buick I have in the garage. Then we’re going to tie a rope around the base, and the other end to the towing hitch on the car. Then you’re going to get in the car, drop it into first, floor it, and then well pull that sucker down, and I’ll signal you from the road when it falls.”

“What?” I said, stunned.

He sighed. “What don’t you understand?” He then laid out the plan again definitively. That he had such a detailed idea of what to do indicated to me that this was not the first time that the Buick had been utilized in such a manner.

Since all of the day’s actions were flashing before my eyes as the rest of the forest waited for me to carom off the road and perish, I could only assume that the whole experience was just another time warping near death phenomenon. As I fought with the wheel, the steering and engine of the car fought with me, the rope yanked at the three trees holding their dead brother, my eyes took in the signal they had longed to see after the eternity of minutes that had passed. I cut the engine, and shot out of the car.

The power of countless horses had defeated mere greenery. The ground shook as the tree was surrendered by its family. A cloud of furious chattering birds flew off into the air from the surrounding trees at the immense concussion. I attempted to saunter around to the back of the car, hiding the trembling of my legs, hands and other disturbed appendages. There were several parallel deep holes by the rear wheels. They were not ruts. Ruts were an inch, two inches deep. The holes were about four to five inches in depth, at a minimum. I let out a relieved gasp of air.

I bent to untie the rope from the hitch, when I noticed something odd. The hitch seemed to be hanging off the car. I looked under the carriage. The hitch was affixed firmly to the bumper. Puzzled, I circled around to the side of the car and my heart rate skyrocketed to maximum velocity. The bumper had been almost completely pulled off. Many inches of exposed metal glistened in the mid-morning sun where it was supposed to rest. Disturbed, my legs gave way on the now wobbly part.

“Hey – what are you doing? Resting? We’ve got a tree to chop up and move! Get a move on!” Wearily, I got up to finish the job, and tried not to think about how the heroic broken bumper had preserved the multitude of seconds I had in my life because of its death grip on the chassis.