Forestry Note:
24 July 2018

¶ Sitting out on the balcony during a downpour, as I like to do so long as the rain doesn’t blow in on me, I wondered how long it would take to clear away the tree that fell down about a moment after I stepped outside, just before the storm.

“The tree fell down” — that doesn’t seem right. The tree tore apart, like a great deal of paper ripping. I had heard the sound often enough at our lake house in Connecticut, but never in town. Like thunder, it is violent but unhurried, and it doesn’t come to an end until a few moments after the noise stops, when you realize that there isn’t going to be any more. 

Peering up 87th Street toward Second Avenue, I couldn’t quite see the tree, but I could tell that there were branches of leaves on the street. A few cars quietly approached, and just as quietly backed up. Astonishingly, I never heard a single horn. Given that the building’s garage, its portal directly below our balcony, operates a car-rental service, with a lot of Sunday-night traffic, I foresaw a crisis. There’s an entrance on 86th Street, but it is narrow and seldom used these days. For the sake of all the unsuspecting renters, driving back from their weekends away, I hoped that the situation would be cleared up quickly. But by whom? 

After about twenty minutes, I heard a buzz saw. Thanks to a brief blurt of sirens, I supposed it to belong to the Fire Department, which had presumably also blocked off the street at First Avenue. Within the hour, the job was done. I was impressed.

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