Monday, July 21, 2008

It's not over yet

Last week it was animals. This week it’s wind. Our own environment is turning on us, like a rabid woodchuck or two cats in a sack.

Animals are often different when the moon is full, and last week was no exception. Our house sits in the middle of a circle of lawn, carved out of the South Amherst forest. Usually, the animals gaze placidly onto the lawn from the security of the underbrush, but last week, they became brazen, invading the lawn in the middle of the night.

We came within a hairs breadth of a takeover, with me, a flashlight, and a spear standing between humanity and aggressive Beasts. Five days later, they have retreated. I shine the flashlight around the perimeter, and the eyes are gone. For now. But when they return, I am ready.

I thought I could breathe easy, having driven the Animals back into the Forest. But of Friday, the Forest itself turned. I had always imagined the Forest as safe, calm, and predictable. Sure, I’d seen those movies where the trees walked and talked and grabbed unwary children, but I knew better. I knew that was just pretend.

But what happens when trees attack, for real?

We had thunderstorms in the afternoon, and things got violent. With the wind and rain, the Trees roared in rage, cracked, and flung huge pieces of themselves at unsuspecting targets all over Amherst. Two large tree chunks blocked both ends of Harkness Road, and ten other main streets were closed with splintered wood, leaf screens and power lines littering the roads. Even the rain has turned aggressive.

A car in Whatley was crushed like a bug, and the front page of today’s Springfield Union shows it lying dead in a pool of wood chips and car gore, next to its owner’s home. It almost made it. Just twenty feet more and it would have been safe . . .

And I realized they can do it again and again, like marauding earthworms, because trees and worms have one thing in common: They both have the ability to re-grow limbs. It may take years, but they do it, and then they’re ready to strike again. Trees grow at such a slow pace that a single tree has the potential to attack several generations of unsuspecting humanity.

When you think about it, it’s no wonder people cut the trees down and plant big lawns. But what’s underground? Worms. And I can just see it now. When I dig in the garden, I see they are getting bigger. And they don’t crawl and hide anymore. Now, some rear back and strike, like snakes. I wonder if they’re growing teeth. They are getting ready to rise.

But I have a flamethrower.

I wish the Chemistry people had not dumped those chemicals in the landfill back in the sixties. But who knows? Maybe it’s the Air Force’s fault, dumping stuff at Westover. Whatever the cause, the die is cast. It’s too late to turn back.

Saturday and Sunday the rains returned, and with them came more downed trees. Cars were flooded, stomped, or vaporized by lightning. Fearful and crazed cattle rampaged on Northeast street.

Is this global warming? Where will it end?

10 comments:

Strange Behaviour said...

Heh. Let us not forget who was here first...

John Elder Robison said...

They may have been here first, but I am still at the top of the food chin

Chumplet said...

Sounds like you're living in the middle of a bunch of resurrected Ents. Talk to them nice and they won't rip your house out by the roots.

Simonne said...

Good luck with those marauding trees! An entertaining post though! I'm glad I found your blog - now I want to read your book. I've read Running With Scissors - it's a great read :)

Molly said...

Come what may, you have a flamethrower and a spear. I think you're set.

Sheri Nugent said...

So scary! I vow never to live by tall trees. They scare the crap out me when they become animated in the wind.

Kim Stagliano said...

Was it Poltergeist where the tree smashed into the window and grabbed the child? We had a tin, mechanical tree toy as kids, from the 1950's I think - it groaned and inched along the floor and scared me to death. Trees are scary... John, stay away from the windows!

Realmcovet said...

Hmmmm....

Both a spear wielder and possesor of a flame thrower, eh?

That's pretty damn funny. And cool. Sounds like you're all set against them Ents and coyotes. Oh, and worms too.:D

Jess said...

The flame thrower won't work in the rain! I strongly suggest a waterproof napalm-like substance or a sodium based compound, because sodium reacts violently with water, to blast the trees away.

Michele said...

**snicker**
although much of what you wrote is serious stuff for homeowners, it was quite humorous.
And, these storms took a house that we built 14 years ago and pushed in rain water.
Now our roof leaks and we have no idea where the storms breached.

So, yes, nature sure is volatile this summer.