Posted by: pendrops | January 15, 2007

falling trees


Thursday night, a tree fell on Jason and me while we were driving. A little unexpected, yes. Jason slammed on the brakes, stopping just inches away from the bulky trunk stretched across the road, as dozens of secondary branches scratched off the paint and cracked the windshield of our car. Oh, but there’s something else, another arbitrary twist – not driving our car. Happen to be driving the rents’ car on a whim as they’ve left it with us (to take care of, no less) while they’re living overseas.

So there we were, 10 pm, on a winding road, in my parents’ mini-van, with sticks poking out of the sideview mirrors. A few sparks fizzled overhead and landed in the ravine next to us as the streetlamp went out, branches dangling from the lines. Out from under the far-reaching fingers of the tree, I said, “Thank you, God.” I said it over and over, my hands over my heart, breathing deep to combat hyperventilation.

From the passenger seat of the van, I watched the blinding lights of police cars and a ruby red fire truck. A moment later, a policeman approached to view the damage for his report . In one of the more comic moments of the incident, he shined his light at the cracked windshield and I knew I’d been watching way too much 24 when I lifted my hands in surrender. “Oh, the windshield,” I said to myself, putting my hands down and looking around to see if any of the bystanders saw me.

Later on, when we were safe at home and settled down, I thanked God again. But this time I thanked Him for the falling tree. As close as we were to life-threatening danger, I needed that moment to happen. I needed to be reminded about how little control I have. I so carefully plot my day that many times I don’t leave room for the unexpected, the unanticipated, the unimaginable. Like a tree falling on my car while I’m driving it.

In reality, the extent of my control goes about as far as making the bed in the morning. After that, it’s up for grabs – traffic jams, the mood of the barista, whether they have bone-in chicken at the store. And the rotting tree on the side of a road that falls at just the moment my husband and I are under it some ordinary Thursday night – that’s up for grabs, too.

I need more falling trees.



  1. I think Jack Bauer pushed the tree down to stop us from running over a land mine planted by terrorists.

  2. I heard about this the other day at work! Holy Cow girl!

    I was thinking – instead of hitting the brakes, maybe y’all could’ve punched the gas and slide right under that tree before it hit. How cool would that have been! Ah well, maybe next time…either way, there’s nothing like a good ole split-second decision to make you feel so alive!

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