It was a cold windy fall day and the rain kept pouring down. The tall fir tree in the front yard had yellowing branches and not for the first time, Clarissa wondered about its health. Looking out her front window and watching the branches dance wildly in the wind, Clarissa realized that if that tree fell, it would, in all likelihood, come crashing into her home.
The fir tree was over 50 feet tall, standing on very little soil atop glacial bedrock. Clarissa lived on an island which was really just a big slab of glacial bedrock with a little top soil on it. Instead of having roots going down deep into the earth to support them, the island trees had roots forced to grow horizontally just a few feet below the surface of the yard. And this tree was just one of many in Clarissa’s yard as well as the island at large.
Now that fall had arrived, the season for falling trees was upon this small island and every wind storm now would bring at least branches if not entire trees toppling down. Clarissa watched and worried, but hopefully today was not the day that the fallen tree would be hers. Thankfully she had put in an automatic generator for her home so that when the inevitable happened throughout the fall and winter season, when a tree toppled a power line, Clarissa and her pets would still be warm and safe, that is, she thought, unless the tree crashes into her home.
So once again, Clarissa watched the tree swaying, wondering if the yellow branches were natural or a sign of disease. She told herself that first thing tomorrow she’d find someone who knew, someone who could answer her questions about the health of the tree, because without a doubt a sick tree needed to be taken down carefully and safely and not just left to topple on its own. How Clarissa wished that she could talk to trees so she could ask it if it felt alright! But for now, she had no choice but to watch and wait.