17 October 2006

If a Tree Falls...

If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?

We are not able to answer that question definitively (though some claim to.)  However, we can definitely state that if a tree falls across the road, and there's no one there to hear it, you're sure to get an early-morning phone call from irate neighbours who are going to be late for work and school.

A tree at the bottom-end of our property has been leaning further and further for months, now, ever since the heavy rains softened the soil.  Really there are about four of these trees, stacked like dominoes waiting to be knocked over.  They are a formidable challenge to bring down, since any disturbance would set off a chain reaction.  Dangerous stuff.

An early phone call from our next-door neighbour let us know that one of the trees had finally made it down to ground-level, blocking all traffic on the road.  Off I went, chainsaw and slasher in hand, to clear the road.  A good, energetic start to the day, and we'll have plenty of firewood when I finish clearing the mess.

It's incidents like this that highlight the differences between our community of relatively-self-reliant people, and townies.  In a town or city people would be less inclined to jump in and sort out the problem; more likely to wait for the Council to send a team to sort things out.  Really the problem was quite a minor one, and it took us no more than 15 minutes to clear enough of the fallen tree that vehicles can pass normally.  If we'd waited for the Council to send someone, we'd probably still be waiting 6 hours later.

Similarly, when the road was being washed away by heavy rains, we were all out there, sodden, helping to clear a drainage ditch.  Or when potholes appear in the (dirt) road, someone eventually gets sufficiently irritated to dig some gravel from the roadside and fill the hole.  Much healthier for our own state of mind; much healthier for our relationships with our neighbours; much healither for community-building.

As soon as the rain stops I'll get out there and clear things a bit better and collect my firewood.

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