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If a Tree Falls...

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...and you're taking a nap, do you hear it? The answer is a resounding "yes". Especially when it lands about 200 feet from where you lay. Five pm yesterday, high winds brought some sideways rain, hail and many trees down in my neighborhood. I had been napping soundly and sat bolt upright for an unknown reason. The storm had begun. As I dashed around the house closing windows, I noticed something wrong with the view to the north. Brigit and I collected hailstones off the back porch in our palms just as the storm passed on. A short stroll around the yard to survey the damage solved the mystery. treedownSM.jpg This one used to grow along the sidewalk and the next door neighbors' property line. At the trees' base, there was only one thigh-sized living root, the rest was rotten, like damp sawdust. The entire trunk was covered in green lichen, going at least 30 feet up. The fallen diseased maple completely filled the yard of an apartment building, but missed an abandoned house; it's unfortunate the winds were not blowing a bit more southerly. We've been trying to get the Village to condemn the place for a few years. abandoned.jpg Yes, there really is a once-lovely Sears style home behind those overgrown weeds.

Right out of Hitchcock Flick

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I was just disturbed from my work by a huge shadow overhead, visible through the window directly to my right. And the noise...a screeching, squeaking, screening sound from above as well. I looked out and up, and there had to be quite a few hundred black birds swarming around the tops of the tall maple trees. I think they were starlings. As they moved closely through the neighborhood, blocking the sun, half the flock would try to settle on one particular tree, the other half still suspended, circling, searching for a better perch. I had just enough time to head downstairs and out onto the back porch. I wanted a better view and I needed to hear the sounds of the flock.

It was surreal. They continued to consider the trees: in my yard, the neighbors' yards, never all in the air at once, never all quite settled together. On one of their passes over head, I could hear random drops of poop landing on the leaves or the porch roof above me. I was glad to be standing on it's edge, hanging onto the post, leaning out while looking up. I bet I would have had quite a bit of bird droppings on me if I had been out in the open. I considered for a moment how often that many birds would naturally poop while flying around like that. Perhaps they were frightened of something, causing this swooping over my yard. Then, as quickly as they arrived, they were gone, heading west over Smith's pond. But before I got to the back door to go in I heard the familiar cawing of a pair of crows. Looking up, there they were, flocking a hawk, right on her tail, while she easily outmaneuvered them, annoyed none-the-less by their relentless badgering. This trio was following the trail of the starlings. Was this what had unsettled the huge flock? Was some larger creature of the sky to follow? Was I in a horror movie and didn't know it? Where is Tippi Hedren? I think I'll go look for Rod Taylor in the attic.

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