You would think I would hear it, right?? On Saturday night, sometime between Julia getting home at 10:30 pm and 10:30 the next morning, a huge portion of an even bigger Heritage Oak tree crashed to the ground at the top of my driveway.
I can’t believe I didn’t hear it but nope, I didn’t hear a thing. This fuels the whole philosophical debate about ‘if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound’. It is hard to describe the size of the gorgeous tree. If the fallen limb were upright and Julia and I were trying to reach our arms around the trunk, our hands would not meet. They wouldn’t even be close. The tree is estimated to be over 400 years old. Isn’t that impressive? 400 years!
There were four main trunks coming off of the tree and a bit of a well in the center. I suppose, over the many years, the rainwater settled in that little valley and slowly rotted the base. Our neighbors, whose property this tree is actually on, are very careful people and had an arborist check the tree regularly because of its massive size. He thought the tree was quite healthy. Which it was, really, but for the center of that massive base which had rotted.
Sunday morning my parents came by for a visit and had to tell me my driveway was blocked and this tree had fallen. What a surprise, I had no idea! Dad and I took a closer look and saw the split that went all the way though the base of the tree. It was clear the other portion of the tree would likely fall. However, when this portion fell, it would hit a series of power lines overhead. This was really scary and we called the power company immediately. It took about four hours for the emergency team to get out here but as soon as they saw what was going on, they shut off the power to that line.
Within the hour, they had a team of tree trimmers out to the site. I felt badly about these guys having to work on a Sunday afternoon but was very grateful they were there. It felt even worse to see them chopping the tree up, bit by bit. We watched them work for quite a while. Neighbors were coming out and lamenting the loss of this enormous shade tree.
The tree trimmers were actually still working in the dark when we went to bed Sunday night. This morning we walked up the driveway to see how it looked. They had done a great job of trying to clear pathways so we and the neighbors could get in and out of our properties. There is still much work to be done however. It is astounding how much wood and debris are up there all from the one tree.
In the picture above one can see the close proximity from the tree stump, on the left, to the power pole, on the right. It was really a dangerous situation one the tree was found to be at risk of falling. Now that the danger has been taken care of, my neighbors can be heard with chain saws trying to clear some of the wood. We are all comforted by the fact that nothing was damaged and no one was hurt by this. It surprises me how bothered I am by the loss of the tree, something that has been the landmark to our house all these years. When giving directions we always tell people to look for the massive oak at the top of our driveway. Now it isn’t there anymore. Something is always changing and right now, for us, it is the look of our neighborhood.