I should be a better waterer. I moved into this condo in Belmont two-and-a-half years ago. My neighbours and I each have a separate building. The back of mine faces a farmer’s field. Shortly after I moved in, my builder had a locust tree planted in my mini-backyard. It was already ten feet high when it hit the earth.
I didn’t water my leafy friend.
Now, as the leaves are emerging, there are several skinny and very dead branches. Time to do better, Bruce. I took a photo and rambled over to my local garden centre, where Jim knows about all things plant. “Lop off the dead stuff, create an earthen bowl around the trunk, and give it a good watering once a week. It’ll be fine.” Ahh … the joy of friendly expertise.
I bought some topsoil and headed over to the rental place, which had just what I needed – a tree pruner. Long wooden handle for one hand, a rope to pull the blade shut for the other. Piece of cake. This was yesterday afternoon at 2:45. They closed at 3:00. See? The Gods were with me.
I was too busy doing nothing at home to get the project underway yesterday, but today was my rendezvous with destiny. I was out there in my home maintenance clothes, ready to get covered with soil, and all set to show off my tree pruning skills. The first dead branches were about six feet above the grass. Insert blade opening around the offending bare one, pull the rope gently, and watch the twig fall gently to the ground. Oh, what a good boy am I!
Hmm. That one’s higher and a lot thicker. I was at a bit of an awkward angle, maneuvering around the live branches. Pull with right hand, left one on the handle > Nothing. Pull harder > Pretty much nothing. Okay, this isn’t working. “Why don’t you just grab the rope with both hands and really reef ‘er?” > “Okay, I’ll do that.”
[And now for a pause that refreshes: You handy men and women in the crowd may possibly be gasping right now. How could this homeowner be so … stupid? Doesn’t he see the probable consequences of his proposed action? Was he born in a cave, somehow managing to stay there until this moment?]
I pulled like the hero I no doubt am.
Schmuck! The handle smashes into bone just above my left eye. Falling. Soft grass. Warm flowing. Heading to lights out … but no. I stumble up, lurch to the garage and grab the paper towels. Glasses in one hand. Masses of white grope from the other to my face. Red trickle down the lens, pretty against the amber and purple of my frames.
Brain exploding. The neighbour’s doorbell. Maddy’s hand on my shoulder. “Come in. Sit down.” She gently removes the roll of paper towel from my elbow. I keep pressing. “Lean back against the wall. Breathe slowly.” Fading in and out. Gary appears with a bag of ice. Later, two big bandaids. Thank you, my friends.
Twenty minutes later, I’m lying on my bed. Far from sleep. Exhausted. “Go to the hospital. You may have a concussion. You’re okay to drive.”
Was I? I knew I didn’t want to bother Maddy and Gary. Who knows how long I’d be in Emergency? “I can do this.” And I did. The twenty-five minute drive was almost uneventful. I was slow and steady. A wee bit of blood dripped from under the bandage. I wiped it away. No big deal.
The wait seemed long but it wasn’t. My ice bag was now a cold water bag. The staff were so friendly. The doc had been around the block a few times. No concussion. A few sutures needed. I gulped at that news, my wimpy relationship to pain coming to the surface. Injecting the freezing agent hurt some but the four stitches were … seamless.
It’s hours later. There’s a little smile on my face, just as there was during some hospital moments. Some pain in my noggin. What a silly guy, but essentially lovable. It was another rich life experience. I’m sure there’ll be many more.