Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 2: If a Tree Falls in the Forest...

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

I have no idea, but if one falls in Phoenix, it sure as hell does.

You see, 300 days out of the year or so Phoenix has no weather. Sun, heat. Got it? I've often wondered why the local news stations have meteorologists on staff. It's those other two months where they earn their keep. We call it monsoon season. And it was monsoon season that brought the tree in my front yard crashing onto my front door and roof. It wasn't a very old tree, in fact I had just planted it a year ago. It had quickly grown well over the height of my carport....maybe 15 ft.....with pretty willowy branches. I enjoyed its graceful form and shade every day. But that storm just grabbed up those branches and whipped them back and forth like a hula dancer on speed. I had my landscapers stake it up the week before, when it had lurched sharply toward the street. It was attached by cables on three sides, tied down to steel stakes. It looked invincible.

But it wasn't; it came down with a thud. And I lived for two days ducking under the fallen branches, like some jungle explorer just to get out of the house. On Saturday (yesterday) the same landscapers came back and chopped the big tree down with a chain saw and pick ax. And that was that. Sometimes things that appear solid aren't.

My decision to retire early was like that, too. A good job. A government job. People stick around for 20, 30 years. But for me, I was missing the tap root. For the more finely tuned folks out there, a simple tap on the shoulder from your higher power is enough to get you to sit up and take notice. For stubborn old Germans like my family, we need something a bit more dramatic. Like a tree falling on your house. OK, OK.....message received loud and clear. Time to move on.

This afternoon a question came to mind: How was I able to work through nap time all those years?