If a tree falls in a forest (or in your backyard) and no one is around (or sleeping) to hear it, does it make a sound?
After dropping my cousin off at her house, I headed back home amidst heavy winds and rains produced by the latest Noreaster to hit us this year. Throughout the trip, I was actually worried about the tree in our backyard. It's large and old. It looks like an evergreen, but I don't know much about trees.
Seeing twigs and branches strewn about on Garden State Parkway didn't help either. The van vibrated violently; suddenly ... a flat tire. I pushed on through, as changing a tire in a heavy rain storm with barely any light on a highway wasn't something I wanted to do ... again.
Over 12 years ago, a friend of mine and I had arrived from a road trip, and about 30 minutes away from town, we got a flat. We hung out on the edge of the highway, talking about guy stuff and deep thoughts about life .... I guess what single 23 - 24 year old guys see as deep. Eventually we installed the bicycle tire-like spare and made it home safely. It wasn't fun ... the tire changing that is, but my friend being there turned the experience from being really bad to pretty okay.
This time, I was alone and didn't want to change the tire by myself, considering that it was dark, wet, and windy. I pushed forward, noticing more and more shaking as I was nearing the exit, but then remembered what happened 2 years ago, when the same van shut down in an unexpectedly deep pool of water in a nearby exit. Not wanting to wade in thigh high, dirty water again waiting for the tow truck for several hours, I headed towards the next exit, which was a bit farther, but on higher ground.
A few blocks from home, I heard metallic scraping noises. Only 2 blocks away at this point. I kept driving home. When I made it home, little did I realize that the tire, whatever was left of it, was actually off the rim. But, I was home, finally, glad to be alive, but still thinking about the tree in the backyard. I went to sleep.
I woke up bright and early the next day, and headed to church, completely forgetting about that tree in the backyard, as there were no more winds to remind me of it. So, I just got into the other car and headed out. Roads were closed due to fallen trees, and despite all this, the tree was not on my mind, at all. My mind was writhing with thoughts of the van, and what we were going to do with it, as it isn't drivable. Arriving from church, I pulled into the driveway.
I saw it ... that big ole tree, laying on its side; atop the roof of the neighbor's shed, completely uprooted. I was glad, because it could have easily fallen towards our bedroom, only about 10 feet away. The roof of the house we live in, which is very old too, probably would not have withstanded the weight of the tree. It's my estimation that had the tree fallen the other way, I would not be writing this right now.
Roots no more.
Hey Neighbor! (This picture was taken right outside our bedroom window)
It's simple. The direction the tree fell was the determining factor on whether my wife and I (and, Gideon too; as of late as he's been sleeping with us) should live or die. It's that basic.
I didn't know what to think at first. I was flooded with the absoluteness of life and death. Lucia, who was in another room, not within reach, would have been left alone. A tragedy. We joked that Lucia would have been angry at us for not getting her out of the crib, with a bottle of milk ready.
We never heard the tree, so there was nothing we could have done to protect ourselves. Alexa and I believe God protected our family.
God's hand appears in many forms, in the life a new baby, in the majesty of nature, and in the humanity and love we show to others ... and yes, even when a tree falls and we don't hear it.