My Neighbor Has a Chainsaw
What I learned when I knocked on the front door of the house around the corner
This is a story about how I met my neighbor. It happened on a Sunday in 2011. I had just bought the home of my dreams; an old house with hard wood floors in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
I spent that first hot summer in my new house mostly out of town. At the time I was unsettled, unmarried and without children. During the week, I worked. On the weekends I would flee to higher elevations. My boyfriend and most of my friends still lived 6,000 feet above me in the High Sierra.
One sunny day in September, I was on my way home from another weekend away. The drive down the western slope of the Sierras is long, hot and hectic. Three blocks from my house, I stopped at the gas station for an ice cream sundae. It is the perfect ending to my weekend. I feel contented, spontaneous and free.
When I pull up to my house, my mood instantly sours. Splayed across the front yard is a giant limb of the front yard’s biggest tree. Doom has befallen my new home.
I exit the car still holding the ice cream wrapper in my right hand and survey the scene.
The limb has ripped off a piece of my gutter and smashed the corner of my HVAC unit.
I don’t see any major damage, but it is hard to tell. A proper assessment is difficult. There is tree everywhere: branches, leaves. I take huge steps through the foliage, feeling a strange sense of intimacy as I place my hands on something that was once too high to touch. I think about birds. I feel the leaves.
Aside from the fallen limb, there is something else new in my yard: a yellow piece of paper, sticking out from underneath my front mat. It is a note.
(Right around the corner
5020 Flower St.
Big Brown Ford Truck)
Chainsaw ready to help! [smiley face]
Sorry Boot Your Tree!
He has given me his phone number. I feel nervous. It is 2:00 p.m. on a Sunday and the weather looks threatening. I must get this tree…