If a tree falls

     If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If you are spending the night babysitting your grandchildren at your son’s house in Wilmington during a savage nor’easter, the answer is a resounding YES.

     The excitement happened during the middle of the night during the middle of the second winter snowstorm in ten days. There was a storm in the forecast that unfortunately coincided with a birthday trip my son and his wife were taking to Connecticut. My wife and I were going to stay at my son’s house with the children Wednesday night. I had every intention of going to work from Wilmington on Thursday morning. In fact I thought the commute to North Andover would be a little easier than commuting from Stoneham. But as the saying goes, “Man plans. God laughs.”

     Wednesday’s incoming, inclement weather was not going to stop my son and his wife from taking advantage of their plans for a mid-week getaway, without the kids and the dog. With snow in the forecast, I would have cancelled my plans. Others throw caution to the wind.

     “We have to go,” said my storm-riding son. “Our hotel is non-refundable.” And off they journeyed into the graying skies that were just starting to spit sleet.

     Any afternoon spent with my grandkids is a good one. After watching Paw Patrol with my grandson and re-enacting scenes from Beauty and the Beast with my granddaughter, I was ready for a nap. So was my grandson J.J., who is warmer than any blanket when he sleeps snuggled up on my chest. We both stretched out on the couch for an afternoon snooze.

     An hour later, I woke to the sound of my granddaughter Ellie singing songs from the movie Frozen. Outside, the snow had already begun.

     After a family dinner and making art projects with the kids, it was time to turn in for the night. Once the children were asleep, my wife and I watched the news and weather before heading off to bed. It was early but we were exhausted from our day spent entertaining the little ones.

     Around 3:00 a.m. my granddaughter appeared at my side of the bed. She climbed under the covers between my wife and I and fell back to sleep. I was still getting used to all the noises of a strange house – the usual creaks, clicks and clangs, in addition to the wind outside. An hour later, we were all jolted out of a sound sleep by a thunderous crack-slam-thunk sound that shook the house.

     “What was that noise?” asked my granddaughter.

     My son has a plow service that takes care of his long driveway when it snows.
I think the plow man started early,” I told her.

     I didn’t tell her it sounded like he tore off the front porch with his plow. Things quieted down and we all fell back to sleep.

     A couple of hours later, I woke up and headed downstairs. The snow was still coming down and the driveway wasn’t plowed. I looked out the side window and saw a fallen tree inches from the house. The tree tore down a section of fence before landing next to my son’s prized gas grill. Another tree was down in the front yard as well. The unusual sounds we heard that night were trees falling down all around us. We were very lucky to have escaped with just damage to the fence. It could have been much worse as I found out when I turned on the news to watch the local storm coverage.

     I placed a frantic call to my office to let my manager know I wouldn’t be able to make it to work. After breakfast, my son called to check on his children. I hesitated to tell him about the tree damage waiting for him at home, but I didn’t want him to be surprised. I texted him a couple of photos to lessen the shock.

     The plow service finally arrived, plowing snow and tree limbs to clear the driveway. My son arrived home earlier than expected. He was going to have his hands full between tree clean-up and repairing sections of lost fence. At least the roads were clear at this point. After a nice family dinner, my wife and I headed back to Stoneham.

     We were greeted by a large fallen tree laying across the middle of our street. We had to drive around the block to gain access to our driveway. A foot-tall ridge of snow prevented us from pulling in, so my wife parked on the street while I shoveled us out. While shoveling I was entertained by cars zooming down the street, discovering the tree across the road, and doing three-point turns to go back the other way. That got old really fast especially since they were using my newly shoveled drive-way to turn around in.

     This night of excitement happened before last week’s two feet of snow. I’m still recovering from that storm, our third nor’easter in 10 days. I don’t even remember the first one. Luckily, the nor’easter predicted for the first day of Spring didn’t amount to much.

     This year, March really roared in like a lion. The chances of March going out like a lamb are slim to none. But this is New England, so anything can happen. And it does.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s