When a Tree Falls in Your Driveway….

Originally composed 5 March 2010.

Finally~! For over a month everyone but us seemed to be getting snow. The day they said all lower 48 states got snow on the same day- we had none. Upstate got it all. So when they called for a Nor’easter to hit us I was a little excited. I jumped the gun.

This snow was not the pretty light fluffy stuff that stinks for making forts and snowmen. No, it was heavy, wet and huge. Flakes larger than an oreo cookie! HUGE I say! Ever so lovely to watch them fall.

So they fell, and they fell and the world began to turn the softest of whites. The wires began to hang low …and the trees began to bend…to the ground.

After only a couple of hours I was barely able to drive to the bus stop for the kids (which I never do but wanted to see if I could even get up the street) let alone the train station for Lance.
When I got into town, they had slush, some snow accumulation, but overall, no bending branches and little evidence of what we were seeing at the top of the mount. For their 2-3 we had 6!

That evening branches began falling… huge branches… some of them the major ones of a tree. They fell in the yard, on the neighbors car, in the road. But no whole trees… yet.

The next day Lance went out to shovel- with all that heavy snow still on the trees. That is when it happened. Nick and Graham were out there helping shovel and when he heard a sound he looked to see the tree moving. He yelled at them: “BOYS!! Come NOW!”
Thank God they listened.

I was in the living room, no window to out front. I heard a crash that made my heart skip a beat and I nearly flew up the stairs. Brenden was sitting by the picture window and I asked as I ran up the stairs what happened. With a shocked look on his face he said, “A tree just fell.” I ran to the window and all I could see was a massive 80 ft Cottonwood tree taking up my ENTIRE driveway- right where my husband and children were supposed to be. My first thought was: My LORD… they are under that tree crushed in the snow!!!

I do not know what my voice sounded like, but I am sure it was frantic when I breathlessly demanded of Brenden, “Where is your father?” He then pointed to the corner of the window and said, “right there.” I looked down and Lance stood with the twins gripped to him and a look of stunned relief on his face. I am sure an eternity passed as my mind attempted to accept that if I saw them standing there they were not under the tree. Then I started to breathe heavily- or maybe I was not breathing at all and had only just begun again.

I finally found my legs and raced down to them. As soon as my arms were around Lance I began sobbing hysterically- something I have never done like this in my life. Ever. Not even as an emotionally overwrought teenage girl. Apparently my crying was so loud that combined with the sound of the tree crashing, the neighbor ran out the door yelling back to his wife to be ready to call 911. He thought for sure something was wrong. I must have stood there sobbing and clinging to Lance forever. Finally I begged him to please just come inside until the snow is off the trees. “Please!!!!”

Finally he did. Then he told me that Graham had been the one who was basically under the tree when it began to fall. I still cannot feel anything when I write that or ponder it- I simply shut down emotionally at the close call my child just faced. Especially when I consider the death the day before of a man in Central Parks- killed by a falling branch.

I have never ever felt such fear, panic, dread, you name it….I felt it.

The tree remains in the yard. The landlord and friends with chainsaws came on Saturday to cut a swath to get us out but the remnants will be there for some time… and every time I see it I want to grab the 3 of them to me and never let go.

So when a tree falls in your driveway- your wife will make a realllllly loud sound- and you will never forget it.


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