Monday, January 03, 2005

feed the tree, pt. 2

the fauna ain't the only living things to be reckoned with in the canyon. lately, our trees have been getting into some serious kamikaze mischief. just two months after a crashed tree plugged up traffic for hours (ok, that one had a little help from a witless human), today a branch fell earthward in the thundering rain, catching some power lines in its descent. noise like a giant garbage disposal: RRRRUMBLE! a loud POW! and a POP! or three, or more. broken wires flapped from poles all down our side of the street as the line snapped. transformers on the tops of poles spat out blue-white light with an ear-searing sizzle.

the house, of course, went dark.

the whole light-and-noise show was repeated, somewhat more spectacularly. the authorities were notified -- again! -- and traffic edged uneasily forward. our house is right above the street. i went out on the porch and looked up and down at the poles. some of the wires dangled in the water rising in the gutter. nothing seemed to happen, but WTF? this didn't seem good. finally, the fire department showed up and determined it was a job for the DWP. they put some barricades around the wires and left. then a cop came to investigate, dunno exactly why. b/c it was an accident? b/c people had called 911? he was just sitting in his cruiser across the street from our house, doing cop stuff, when suddenly one of the poles up the hill from us started sparkin', and that gnarly rumbling sound happened again. he drove on up there in his car and stopped the traffic ... huge plumes of thick white steam? smoke? rose up from the gutter where the wires touched, and also along the hillside where one had fallen (it seems like this would have been fire if it hadn't been raining ... as it was, everything was soaked). they puffed up slowly and rolled down the canyon, smelling of burnt insulation. everything died down again, but he stopped traffic and called some cop buddies, and then 00soul called the DWP and said they might wanna expedite the repair process. soon enough, the street was empty of cars, and a bunch of trucks had arrived.

we huddled in the house, cold and at loose ends. i had enough battery power on the computer to get some work done and send it off. my cellphone stopped getting reception after a while. so i just ended up sitting on the couch under a blanket, reading. i was there when the power came back on ... about six hours after it went out. it was another little while before they opened the street back up.

now the rain is done, and the lights are glowing up and down the street. before darkness came down, i looked out the office window and saw some newly hacked-off limbs poking out near where the branch fell. evidence of the crew's need to tame the beast before they could actually string new wire. was it worth it, motherfucker? i asked. the tree, of course, said nothing. tough bastard.

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