The View From The Stoop Thursday Morning Was More Interesting Than Usual

Nothing like waking up to the sound of chainsaws in the morning.

Those guys, the ones who trim trees for a living, really ought to sell tickets.

Who doesn't like to watch a brave fellow with a chainsaw dangling from his hip dance around the uppermost branches of a tall tree that scrapes the sky? It's like watching one of the Flying Wallendas walk a tightrope without a net.

At once exhilarating, tense and hold-your-breath dangerous.

Those guys are daredevils. And it seems to me they're leaving money on the table - especially now when entertainment options are limited by the coronavirus pandemic.

Movies theaters are shutdown. You can forget about baseball for now. Restaurants are closed except for takeout.

I never thought I'd say it, but even I'm getting a little tired of "Star Trek" reruns. Don't tell my wife I said that. 

Anyway, the tree trimmers, with their ropes, chainsaws and big trucks, turned up across the street from my house Thursday morning and put on quite a show. I watched the whole thing - for free - from my vantage point on the stoop - where, now that it's warmer, you can find me most mornings sipping coffee, thinking big thoughts, and steeling myself for the day ahead.

In my corner of West Virginia, in the state's Eastern Panhandle, we're under tighter restrictions than much of the rest of the state. A cluster of confirmed coronavirus cases has developed here.

Our governor signed an executive order late last week tightening social distancing guidelines, not only in the three counties that make up the panhandle, but in four others as well. They include Monongalia and Kanawha Counties, meaning I have family members in three of the most closely watched hotspots in the state.

My wife, our daughter and I are here in Berkeley County. Our son celebrated his 22nd birthday on Wednesday in Monongalia County, where more than a dozen of his fellow West Virginia University students have tested positive. My 87-year-old mom lives in a nursing home in Putnam County. My brother and his wife live nearby, but all three might as well be in Kanawha, home to the state capital of Charleston. Putnam is more or less a bedroom community. 

As of this writing, my home state has 485 confirmed cases and five deaths are now being blamed on the pandemic.

My loved ones are fine. And despite having a dangerous job, the tree trimmers packed up their gear and left intact.

They have plenty to do right now. And despite millions of Americans filing for unemployment as a consequence of social distancing, they will likely remain on the job if the weather has anything to do with it.

When I walked Ornery Dog Jasper Thursday afternoon, another chainsaw crew was at work on a tall evergreen that came down on a house up the street - a casualty of the angry storm that blew through Tuesday night.

And remember what I said about Bradford Pear Trees being trash? The same storm left one in a jumbled heap a few doors down from mine.

The two Bradfords in my yard still stand - for now, anyway.

I can't help but worry about them when the wind kicks up. And really, don't we all have enough to fret over these days?

Gloomy, I know.

But here's something that will pick up your spirits. I'm going to leave you today with a picture of our crabapple tree.

It's in full bloom right now.


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