Parked outside my front door are two city trucks, hazard lights flashing. Three or four yellow-vested men stare into the naked branches of a sweet gum tree and the limb that dangles dangerously overhead. A neighbor kibitzes with the workers as they ponder how to extract the limb before it falls on someone’s head. A woman stops to talk while her dog sniffs beneath the trees. I drink my coffee and watch this impromptu scene gathering before me.
The limb is a remnant of the storm that ripped across town last September, a microburst, the meteorologists called it, which, according to the fireman I’d asked, is basically a tornado turned on its side, flying, tumbleweed-style, just above the treetops. Three months on, we still talk about that storm, contractors enumerating how many roofs they’ve repaired, homeowners counting their blessings about the tree that sliced neatly across two yards and tore down a fence but didn’t hit anyone’s house. There are stacks of split logs in endless backyards. Here and there are crooked stumps. And in the woods, trees are stretched across the ground as if merely resting.
* * *