When Birnam Wood Came to Dunsinane (Or Tree Trimming Gone Wild)

Tree trimming is one of the least favorite chores around the house. Usually, my husband and I start by standing in the side yard, staring at the giant oak tree and making obvious observations. Yep, that’s a huge tree. Yep, those branches are really high. Yep, it’s touching the house and starting to scrape on the trucks that pass through the neighborhood. We should probably do something about it.

The next step involves a ladder and an electric chainsaw. After some careful positioning, he climbs the ladder with the chainsaw, and I stay on the side of the ladder opposite the action so I don’t get clobbered by a tree limb… or worse. At least I figured out to wear a hoodie so the inevitable sawdust rains onto my clothes and not into my hair. It could be several days before all of the sawdust works itself to the surface without it.

It’s not uncommon for neighbors to pass by quietly, walking their dogs or jogging past and silently sympathizing. Or perhaps thinking we’re completely crazy for doing it ourselves.

This past time, though, a neighbor walking his dog actually stopped and talked to us.

“I have a pole saw,” he said in his British accent. “You can borrow it if you like.”

Of course, we politely refused. We were almost done and had plenty of branches to cut up and bundle as it was. So he went on his way.

Twenty minutes later, I was feeling good about the situation. Yeah, the old electric chainsaw had jammed a few times because it wasn’t very good, but it wasn’t a big deal. We were almost done.

Then a truck hauling an open trailer stopped next to the house. It was our British neighbor on his way to work. Who knew he trimmed trees for a living?

He insisted on trimming some branches for us free of charge, so my husband accepted the offer. He only saw a huge favor. I saw so much more to bundle, but, hey, it would have to be done at some point. Why not now?

Branches fell left and right. In five minutes, he tripled what we had done in thirty. The whole side of the yard looked like it was covered in thick undergrowth because of the enormous, fallen branches. Then, with a polite nod, he hopped back in his truck and left.

Only then did my husband realize that we’d been done a huge favor, but we also now had a much larger job ahead of us. The cutting and bundling continued. For a few minutes, everything was great. Then the chainsaw revved its last, leaving us with a mountain of branches and nowhere to go.

These are the times that test men’s souls.

After a short while, we came up with a plan: drag the branches into the fenced backyard until we could borrow a chainsaw and finish cutting everything up. Turned out that was a bit easier said than done considering just how massive some of the branches were, but we finally managed to do it. After all, we’re a team.

The next morning, I woke up and had forgotten about the tree trimming adventure of the day before. As usual, the cat was sitting along a sliding glass door, staring outside. I joined him and felt like I was in Macbeth. Birnam Wood had come to Dunsinane.


What was next? Being threatened by someone who was from the womb untimely ripped?


2 responses to “When Birnam Wood Came to Dunsinane (Or Tree Trimming Gone Wild)

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