I did not hear a tree falling in October 13, 2017
I have always loved the wind. Since a child standing in the tall green grass of the mountains in Woodland Hills, the wind stirred feelings of freedom, activity, life.
In 1992 I married and moved to Chatsworth, located in the north end of the Los Angeles County San Fernando Valley. Because it rests below a bank of mountains, it is essentially a wind tunnel. I never feared walking in the wind. In fact, a windy day inspired me to take a walk. I never wondered if I’d hear a tree falling.
But all that changed while visiting Vermont in October 2017
It was a windy fall morning. I set out, by myself, to enjoy my walk to Mallets Bay and back. I walked down the tree-lined street close to my father-in-law’s home as I have since 2005. I did so with no hint of danger or fear. I recall looking at some especially colorful autumn leaves and considered taking a picture. Since they were fluttering due to the wind, I decided against it. Suddenly, there was a grinding type noise and loud crash simultaneous to searing pain across my left shoulder. I had no idea what hit me. Perhaps a tractor was running over me? I felt something hit and bounce off my head which I thought, “…this is not good” as I fell to the ground.
I slowly rose on my knees and felt wood roll off me. A woman ran out of her car alarmed. “are you okay? OMG! A tree fell on you!!!!
I turned around and saw that a 40-foot dead tree had indeed fallen, and the last 15 – 20 feet of it broke across my shoulder. I did not hear a tree falling. I shuddered to think what could have happened to me. There was some bleeding on my head. My cochlear implant and glasses flew off, which were quickly retrieved by the two women who witnessed the event. I paused to take a few photos while they searched the debris left by the tree. Lucky, both the cochlear and glasses were retrieved and except for a small bend in the glasses, undamaged.
One of the gals insisted she drive me to my in-laws’ home, which was only a ½ a block away. Uncertain if anything was going to develop to cause me to go unconscious, I accepted the ride. My husband grabbed an ice pack for me to hold to my head while driving me to the urgent care center. After a pretty thorough examination, the doctor announced, “You are one lucky person. You should go buy a lottery ticket.”
I spent the remainder of the day resting, careful to not fall asleep and watching for any symptoms of a concussion. The following day my rib area was extremely sore. My knees and the palms of my hands were scrapped. Two days later a ripe black eye developed. Still, it did not keep me from enjoying the remaining week in Vermont.
Did the tree make noise?
I’ve had many discussions with friends and family about whether that tree made any noise. It is presumed yes. The trunk cracking, and the rustle of the leaves as the tree fell and hit the ground. If my husband were with me would have heard it amidst the rustle of all the autumn leaves in the wind? After all, many people with normal hearing have died due to a tree falling on them. Is it because they couldn’t move out of the way in time. Or they didn’t hear it?
We are not sure.
But one thing I do know. I no longer feel safe walking when it is windy. I avoid trees if I can. I welcome a partner walking with me as it decreases my sense of vulnerability. As I’ve stated in