Aug 262006

Because my dad’s house is somewhat up in the mountains (even though it’s still technically LA), it’s not at all unusual to get some animal visitors every now and then – a pack of coyotes howling at night, a deer grazing in our back yard, or an owl hooting from beyond my bedroom window. So last week when my dad and I were in my room watching a movie and noticed a rustling noise out by the trashcans, neither of us took particular notice…but as it continued for quite some time, we eventually decided to head outside with a pair of flashlights and see exactly what was going on.

But nothing seemed to be there. That is, until a tree branch came hurling down at us from above. We turned our lights skyward and searched to no avail. Then down came another. And another. Something was throwing branches at us! We were both confused at how an animal could be holding its ground for so long; normally any and all invaders would scurry away at the first sound of a human voice, but here was something standing up to not only voices, but two sets of flashlights sweeping around it for probably 5 straight minutes. What could it be?

Eventually I decided to get my keys and position the car so that I could use its high beams as a brighter set of flashlights. What they revealed was not an animal at all.

An enormous pine tree, easily a hundred years old, was coming down.

The incoming branches were actually chunks that had splintered off and flown through the air; the rustling noises were caused by the wood creaking as it slowly ripped apart. To one side of the tree lie my bedroom window, and to the other, 4000v high-tension wires. “Uh oh” we say as the tree shudders and leans closer and closer to the power lines.

We called the fire department, and they soon arrived to tell us that they have no equipment capable of removing such an enormous tree. “Since nothing has actually caught fire, you’ll just have to wait until morning when a professional can come and dispose of the tree.”

Great. The tree continues to lean, now touching the power lines and stretching them downwards.

At around 2am the power company shows up and examines the lines which are now being stretched downwards by over 5 feet.

2:00) We need to go get the cherry-picker to deal with this; we’ll be back in 30 minutes.
2:30) We didn’t realize how enormous that thing is; I’m sorry, but there’s nothing we can do until morning.

With little option, I go to sleep to the lullaby of creaking wood and branches plummeting towards the ground.

Until 6am when I’m awakened by a loud crash followed by a high-pitched buzz and the bright flash of every light in the house firing on and then cutting off. And several home alarm systems blaring from down the street. I run outside and am surprised to find a miraculously intact power line and a huge tree resting neatly in the driveway.

An interesting little evening, even if it did completely mess up my body clock for the week to come 🙂

  3 Responses to “If A Tree Falls On A House…”

  1. love the pic’s

  2. Oh No!!!
    I’m glad you guys are alright! Sad for the tree – I’ve never heard of one just coming down like that.

  3. Aunt V: Thanx 🙂

    Amy: Apparently it was bugs; they’ve been chewing through the trunk for years and we just never noticed. I guess it just eventually gave way.

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