The recent windstorms have left new widowmakers in the trees. I spoke with a young neighbor who was hit by one, and left with a gash in the back of his head – and was reminded that they aren’t all that easy to see when you are dropping a tree. It is a reminder of the blessings of wearing a hard hat – but even that isn’t a perfect solution.
Not all widowmakers are new. As I clean up blowdowns, thin crowded trees, and so on, I encounter one widowmaker that Dad warned me about when I was in my early teens. Nearly sixty years later, it is still wedged into the tree, dried and seasoned, but still large enough to provide a fatal headache. I can see how to drop the tree safely – but as the tree falls, I can also see where you don’t want to be when the widowmaker finally falls free.