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The Storm, Part 2

Lawrence Bush
February 28, 2010

It was an old electrical post labeled 1955, at the edge of neighbors’ property, that took out our electricity when it fell. The worst storm in Central Hudson’s history, the woman at the power company told us, and since our damage is local and confined to two houses, it might take days, probably a week, she warned, to get us up and running.
HouseAt least five of my trees — “my” trees — are damaged all around our acre-and-a-half. A very tall oak fell towards the house, crushed one of our cars, and knocked the phone wire down, though we still have service. (We always keep an old-fashioned phone on hand for blackouts.) Our gorgeous old maple — which I try to climb a short way up each Rosh Hashone, birthday of the world, to be enveloped in that fantastic display of orange brilliance — has lost a piece of its upper trunk and a large branch. Another tree that stands amid our forsythia, serving as a marker for how much of the lawn the forsythia has conquered each year for the past twenty-three years, has split in half. Two or three more trees are down, too, trees I hardly ever noticed when they were standing.
Just a few weeks gone from Tu B’shevat, the trees are now enemies of civilization. My neighbors’ son told me, as we were commiserating about our blackout, that he is going to take down all six of their gorgeous row of Eastern Pines come the springtime, because of their proximity to the house. I have a beautiful stand of those 80-foot monsters, too, and yes, they are within striking distance. When Susan called our insurance agent, she was told that our policy doesn’t cover tree damage unless the tree has fallen onto our house. The trees themselves, and the aesthetics of the property, are uninsured.
The oak fell short of a settlement by about ten feet, thank goodness. The car it crushed has no collision insurance. No up-to-date inspection sticker, either; I was close to junking it. The oak will supply half a winter’s firewood. My neighbor’s son has offered to cut it up.

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.