Human beings need to be grounded. We need to know our place as the pine trees know their place. I watched the big pine across the street in the wind a few nights ago. Sometimes I hear Greg’s voice telling his fears of the pine tree’s collapse, its shallow roots simply letting go under the pressure of the wind and I get that rush of fear up my stomach like when we’re driving fast to go over a dipsy-do. And I had that rush in my stomach yesterday as I calculated the likeliness of getting to Thea in the cellar and Anya down the hall. Would the roof hold? Is the cellar safe or would she be trapped and scared? I don’t know that tree well enough to know how it would fall. It’s roots are hemmed in on one side by the little house it shares the yard with, but on the other side the roots are packed under the road. So, what’s the weak side, then? Where will it want to tip? I try to figure out where the bulk of the trunk will land but I don’t remember how to calculate the height of a tree, nor do I know the distance in feet between the base of the tree and the kitchen. I don’t even know what kind of pine it is or its true likelihood to fall in the wind. It has weathered many storms, including a few northern hurricanes. But now it’s older and the elderly tip more easily. Still, despite the stomach rush, most days I do not want to take down the pine. Too many pines have come down from Nabnasset. We are changing this area faster than earth time and how can we know the consequences, because every action has consequences and some we won’t like.
Human beings need to be grounded. Even shallow roots hold our place. I have been toppled before. But that pine tree, never.