Illusion of Safety, Illusion of Control
Late last night, after hours at home, my husband Bob pushed aside the edge of a curtain to turn off an outdoor light and found the view blocked by a close-up of branches and leaves. All he said to me, flopped on the sofa a few feet away, was, "Come over here." But there was a puzzling tone to his voice. I got up and looked.
It takes moments for surprise to register: leaves…branches…two huge trunks…tree fell. When? We'd heard nothing. Nothing's punched through. Log walls still standing. Must have happened before we got here. Right over my reading spot. I've sat under the crashed tree much of the evening, reading a book titled, as it happens, Imagine.
There hadn't even been a storm. But apparently, the mighty tree's roots had let go of the much-rained-on wet soil. The upper half of the root ball is about my height.
This morning I shot pictures. Only visible damage is the destroyed section of gutter.
At least one invisible change: my routine assumption about what things move and what things don't is gone again. My snug reading corner with its sprinkle of crumbs and snack wrappers? Well, it might as well have been on a highway traffic island with close calls whizzing past.
As Rajiv Gandhi once said (in an altogether different context), "When a great tree falls, the earth trembles."
And we're expecting visitors from England tomorrow. They've never been to our house and I warned them to expect rusticity and large dogs. I didn't warn them about this. Oh, well.
Aside from the inconvenience and expense and loss of the particular beauty of a tree, I do find the surprise of it bracing. It's good to be aware that there's no real safety anywhere. Keeps one from having to scramble for it.
Categories: enhancing creativity