We’ve had a lot of rain, this summer. Rain does usually come with summer, right? I guess I’d forgotten, we’ve had so many dry years. And then, I was away for six summers, so I only vaguely recalled this. But after complaining of all the rain, the news managed to inform me that we were finally out of the drought. Now, if the people that decide how much water to let through the dam/spillway/whatever-it-is would just let Hartwell fill up the rest of the way, that would be great! You know, give the lake property some value again, and make it look like more than a mud hole.
One afternoon, I got off of work, and was vaguely aware that a storm was rolling through, while I worked away on my computer. I could dimly see the rain coming down, but our back porch blocked my view of the trees. It was only afterwards that I heard how bad it had been in some areas, and how the wind had brought down a lot of debris.
Combined with all the rain that has soaked into the ground, for weeks and weeks, I arrived at work to hear that a large oak tree had come down up the hill from us. At the time, I didn’t know where, I just knew that I couldn’t go see, though a co-worker walked up the hill to look, because he didn’t have anything better to do.
Sometime in the afternoon, an 18-wheeler went by, with a very large tree trunk on the back, and then a dump truck carried away all the extra branches. That was some tree, but I still didn’t know exactly where it had been located. When I finally got into my car, I drove uphill, just in time to see them put the finishing touches on filling in the hole it had left behind. My co-workers had told me that the root system, after the tree fell, was probably taller than they were.
It was one of the trees across the street from Riggs Hall, and down the slope from Fort Hill (John C. Calhoun’s home). I had never taken any pictures up close, but I knew that I had pictures of it. Why? If you’ve seen some of my wandering campus posts, then I have shots of the trees and the paths leading to Riggs, both in winter and in spring. When there are no leaves, you can see Riggs Hall quite easily. When the leaves are out, it’s very shady, and Riggs is out of sight.Strangely enough, I had just taken that springtime tree shot a few weeks before. If you look at the first THREE photos in this post, you can see them. The tree that fell is the second closest to the road, on the right. It doesn’t actually look very big in those pictures, but it really was pretty big, and old. All that rain was enough to soak into the ground, loosen up the roots, and if the wind must’ve helped bring it down.
Or maybe it was rotten in the trunk? I never found out, because I never saw it on the ground. I did see that small tree on the left side of the path, looking a bit smashed, where the big tree must have hit it. When I arrived back on Saturday, the large patch of shade was blinding, after stepping out from the rest of the shady walk. All lined up beautifully, some of them have probably been there for much longer than I’ve been alive. Judging by the size of the other trees, it’s a good thing the tree didn’t fall and block the road, instead of landing in the grass. Or hit any power lines. Were there power lines nearby? I didn’t look.I wonder if they’ll plant another tree there, eventually, though it will take a long time before it catches up with the rest of them. However, if it was old and dangerous, I’m glad it fell and no one was hurt by its falling.