A recent storm had snapped a limb from one of the Bradford Pears and left a perilous mess high in the branches. The heavy end was thick as a man’s thigh and from there it spread, a great hunk of dying foliage, squat in a branch fork 25 foot up. It was a mystery how this had happened and what kind of wind had fractured that much tree and left it cross-hatched, danger perched above the flower beds. And the street.
A good wind ‒ or a breeze, who knew? ‒ likely would bring it crashing down, a threat to the unsuspecting beneath or nearby, not to mention all those glorious flowers in its shadow. We made a call.
Need to get it out, the tree surgeon said. He was back the next morning with an assistant. They circled the Bradford, eyes upward up at the mess. Removing it care-fully took some planning.
Out came the pole saws, ropes, tag lines, a small chain saw on a rope, safety ties. Up went ropes and more ropes, and up went the surgeon, a football lineman scampering up with the agility of a spider. Up he hauled himself using a pulley rig, forearms bulging, locking his safety ropes at stages, pausing to move other ropes toward the broken branch.
He moved this way and that, paused, studied the heavy tangle, studied some more.
“You look at it from the ground, you make your plan,” he said. “And then it looks all different when you get up in the tree.”
Smaller branches were cut. The assistant caught them as they were dropped. Ropes were moved. Another look. Ropes moved again, re-tied. More rope needed.
Lengths of the fat green rope were cinched and looped, knots secured. The brief whine of the surgeon’s little Stihl, a sigh and slight crackle, and a section of limb thick as a cabin log came out at the end of a rope and was lowered to the assistant.
The longer end, its dying branches, was next. More tying knots secure, the brief whine, section lowered by rope, moved carefully above the flower bed.
The surgeon and assistant were there for about an hour. It struck us that we are fortunate to have people proficient in such skills, the kind who help us to have better, safer, less fearful, more comfortable lives.
Along this line we usually think of the police, fire and emergency services. That’s the safer part. The better part comes by adding the grocers, mechanics, plumbers, nurses, lawn keepers, merchants, druggists and everyone else who answers a call for some kind of help, and especially this week the tree surgeon. They all make life in our town that much better. Safer, too.