Fallen Branch Not Sky

Broken Branch

Rot and recent rains downed this large branch from a gigantic oak tree in my yard. It fell just to the side of the driveway, most of it landing on the patchy lawn, the leafy, smaller branches barely missing the blueberry bushes. The catbird who eats all of the berries before I can get a single one, has already perched on a fallen twig, enjoying the new perspective. The branch is big – the size of a slender tree – not something I can kick off to the side to ignore until it turns to earth. Hot and humid as yesterday was, I was determined to tackle clean up.

Mighty Oak

My mighty oak looks fine. Hopefully there aren’t too many more damaged branches. The house is a safe enough distance and while my driveway could get blocked and there’s a chance the car could be hit by future falling limbs, I’m not very worried. Oaks are good old trees with deep roots – as my undulating driveway illustrates. Unlike some of my neighbors, I embrace the beautiful shade and oxygen producing trees and do not see them as a threat. Knock wood. haha. Still, I’ve been peering up at my trees more than usual.

Chain Saw

Oak is a hard wood and this branch will be good burning in another six months but getting it cut into logs is a challenge for my little electric chain saw. I don’t often feel overwhelmed by these tasks that in the old days the man in my life would take care of, but yesterday, I did. I don’t know how and really don’t want to attempt to sharpen the chain on my chainsaw but I am pretty sure it’s because it’s dull that it got stuck twice while I was cutting. Thanks youtube – I managed to get the well cursed out chain dislodged although the second time (use one ax as a wedge while knocking it with the back of another ax – yes, I have two rusty old axes.) brought me close to tears. And for a flash, I thought, this is all too much for me to take care of.

Don’t worry, that passed. At least for now. My house is old and I love it even if that means it needs lots of work as does my yard full of trees and shrubs. I love the sweet habitat all these leaves and branches lend to a myriad of wildlife and birds providing enough pleasure for me that I don’t begrudge them my blueberries and strawberries. I look up at the trees regularly watching birds and the squirrels do crazy gymnastics or just marveling at the fractals and leaves while I listen to the breezes and rain. Still, sometimes, after a big branch falls, I have a moment of catastrophic thinking.

In all aspects of my life I’ve been trying to resist a knee-jerk reaction of worst case scenario. Whether I am looking upward or inward, I want to go to the marvel part of my brain not the lurking disaster. I’m hoping this thinking is like a muscle and I can build it up and strengthen it, to edge out the shit-thinking. I lived through some crazy times in my life so it’s no wonder that I go to that place where my heart races and hands shake. I still need to remind myself that insane days are gone and I need to resist the stress and gloom and embrace small challenges like this. I want to be like the catbird and enjoy the different perspective that a fallen branch can bring.

And I bought a new chain for my chainsaw.

11 thoughts on “Fallen Branch Not Sky”

  1. Love the encouragement not to go to the dark thoughts, but to marvel instead. That sounds like a wonderful replacement. I can see how it’s a challenge trying to tackle these jobs on your own. If something happened to Bruce I don’t know how I’d manage to learn all the stuff I’d need to learn to tend to this place, though I have good neighbors. On another note, I wish you’d publish your memoir as a book. I still think of it.

  2. I think it’s perfectly fine to have that Chicken Little moment before moving on to something more positive. In fact it’s essential. The stiff upper lip is overrated – take it from a Brit!

  3. Youtube, Katie! Thank you for that encouragement. Maybe when I’m retired, I’ll tackle that.

  4. The marvel part of your brain?! Wow, I love this and feel so inspired Tricia! You ARE a marvel!

  5. I love the catbirds. A good spirit animal to give you comfort and courage❤️ And you can always call a friend, ahem

  6. I am a full-on tree-hugger and that oak is a beauty! But that fallen limb would have been a scare for anyone, and I SO admire your will to man the chain saw! Your reflections on the whole of the experience reflect what mine would have been – the what-if catastrophe and the foray into dark thoughts, then the effort to switch gears and appreciate the catbird and the tree itself. You HAVE been through so much and your resilience is amazing. XXOOO

  7. You are an amazing woman, Tricia. While anyone would have had an “AAAHHH!” moment with THAT size branch, you swept the scary thoughts aside and got out your chain saw. I am truly in awe. Again. XOXO

  8. You truly are an amazing woman, Tricia. While anyone would have an “AAAAHHH !” moment with a limb THAT big tumbling down, you acknowledged what happened and grabbed your chain saw. What?! Yes, you did. I am in awe. Again. XOXO

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