Mid-afternoon a tree fell in the yard. No wind, no rain, only the slow crescendoing crack of something gone very very wrong and then a rustle and — wait for the thud, but no thud. The tree hung over the yard, balanced precariously in the crotch of a low shrub and, twenty feet higher, a branch of a poplar. From the house its support was invisible and the angle of its pause impossible, as if it had thought better of its fall once begun. A heavy tree, dead for some time but unrotted and still solid, and if it was coming down soon enough one way or another I preferred it not fall on the dog’s head or on mine, so I dragged out the chain saw and trudged through the underbrush. I had to cut the tree on the upstroke, the saw at the height of my head, to keep it from crushing the fence when it fell, but it split neatly and the two logs fell on either side of the fence, one only slightly bending the wire. We need to rebuild a couple of our garden beds if we intend to use them again and now we have logs to bound them, and the work made me feel sufficiently useful that I felt justified in having a Manhattan, with two cherries, before dinner.