Falling Trees



Solomon came racing downstairs. Down to where I was playing video games in the basement. Because that’s what I’ve been doing since we’ve moved to Iowa. Playing video games in the basement. I can’t tell you how many World Series I’ve led the Twins to in OOTP. It’s a lot. Too many.

“Solomon!” I shouted back at my son.

“The tree fell.”

“The tree fell?”

“The tree fell.”

I walked upstairs. Looked out the sunroom window. Solomon was right. The tree fell.


Not the big tree. The little tree.

We have a big tree in the backyard. A big dead tree. An arborist is scheduled to take a look. The woman on the phone figured it was an ash tree. Lots of dead ash trees in Iowa City. I’m bracing for the estimate. Pretty sure it has to come down. It’ll come down regardless and, while I’d like the insurance money for a new roof, I also don’t want my children to die.

We have a few little trees in the backyard. An enormous branch came off of a little tree a few weeks ago. That’s what Solomon was howling about. It fell during a storm. It was the strangest thing. No wind. No lightning. Just lots of rain. And then half the tree collapsed. I went out there with a chainsaw the next day. A little chainsaw. Sweat through my shirt cleaning up the mess. Katie used twine to make bundles of sticks. That’s how the city of Iowa collects wood during garbage pickup. Bundles of sticks.

I’ve asked the fine arborists of Iowa City to take a look at the little tree too. It doesn’t look all that stable.

We had nineteen big trees in our backyard at Pennsylvania. I was convinced I’d need to take a second mortgage to take care of them one day. And then we sold the house and left those trees behind. I send thoughts and prayers to the people who bought our house. Those are some big trees back that need big work. Big money.

There’s one tree to take care of here. It’s on my list. My list of expensive things to do to this new house. Lordy, the amount of money we’ve spent on this move is astronomical. At least to me. I’m but a humble scholar. And I don’t get my next paycheck until September. Yikes.


A tree has fallen in every house I’ve owned. Northeast Minneapolis. Pennsylvania Furnace. And now here in Iowa City. The trees are after me. Like Ents from Lord of the Rings.

A tree fell on my childhood home. It was traumatic. Read all about it in this best-selling memoir. And by best-selling I mean worst-selling.

I’ll survive falling trees. And expensive bills. Screaming Solomon’s? That’s another thing. They boy is loud. They boy is bored. So much pent up energy. We need school to start. He needs something to do.

For now, I’ll keep hanging out in the basement. Leading my fictional Twins to virtual World Series titles in OOTP. There’s worse things to do and I suspect my life will get much busier when I start my new job at THEEEE University of Iowa. Go Hawkeyes.

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