A quick update:
I had a horrible night Saturday and into Sunday. I finally was forced to call the on-call Dr. or continue to suffer. I was most ready, willing and able to be admitted to try and get this pain/burning thing under control. The Doc offered a different way of taking the pain meds. I went along with it and sure enough, about 4 to 6 hours later, I noticed a big difference.
Ronnie had a rough day - they gave him a 50/50 chance of survival - and now they say he has turned around for the better. Praise God, please continue to pray for Ronnie and his wife Bonnie. (For Ronnie's story - see the post dated "May 4, 2007"
Now, back to part II . . .
It took quite a while for a group of the men to get through the tangled mess of limbs and debris. You wonder how some of this stuff gets into the canal. (Grocery baskets, plastic crates, bicycles – enough stuff to pull off a small garage sale!) They finally cleared a pathway to me all the while yelling to the little one (they called him John) that everything was going to be alright. He seemed to calm down the closer they got to him. He was probably in shock from this whole ordeal. By this time the water was down to my lowest limbs, but it was still too deep for them to walk in. They had to work out of the boat to get John down from my upper limbs – which proved to be a difficult task. Working out of the boat, the smallest one of the bunch did the climbing.
[ Philosophical digression (tree style): This was a new experience for me – I’ve never had any man climb into my limbs for peaceful purposes. I guess it all depends on what it is that they deem valuable. When I am in the way, those clearing guys hurriedly lop, chop and move on to the next one. Their time is of the utmost importance, it therefore has value. In this case, John has the value and I am the ONLY tree in this ditch, as far as they are concerned, because I hold “the man”.]
He finally reached John, pulled a knife out of his pocket and carefully cut some of his clothing loose that had 'snagged' him amongst my limbs - or should I say that 'saved' him. Then, he put a life jacket on him, secured him to himself with a harness and began to climb back down to the boat. Wouldn’t you know it, he slipped on the very last limb and fell into the water, but was quickly helped into the boat by the other men. Boy was John screaming now! You know the poor little fellow has had enough of the water by now – he may never want to take a bath after this scenario! They maneuvered the boat around and went back through the path they had created earlier, heading back upstream. They were getting smaller and smaller, slowly disappearing around the curve – and then poof, they were gone…..
“Well”, I said to one of my fellow ditch dwellers, “that made for an interesting 24 hours didn’t it?” He agreed. But then, followed it with a question, “How do you think the little man wound up in that storm water in the first place?” Hmm, I thought long and hard, but anything I would have come up with would be pure speculation. I told him, “I have no idea”. So, I ventured off into something “other than” – to try and take my mind off of the rain storm. Too many lost friends and lost limbs. Some were still with us - or a part of them that is - and some are now lying on their sides – it was a pitiful and painful sight to behold. There was so much destruction in just our small length of canal. But, like every other bad storm or flood (we've even had a fire for that matter) which we’ve had in the past - we just ‘go-back to growing-back’ – that is our motto around here. Hopefully stronger and a lot more wiser than before.
I don’t know what happened or has ever happened above the canal – you know, over and beyond the bank. Now you know something, that is one question I have never asked myself before. How many of us can say we have had an original question which we have never thought to ask ourselves before? I don’t recall any tree down here asking that question. By the time we get old enough – you know – old enough to think we’re old enough to know everything, we just stop asking questions and begin settling into ‘life in the rut’ – or ‘life in the ditch’ in my case. But I wonder what is over there? So I took it upon myself, since there ain’t a whole lot else to do sittin’ in this here ditch, to ask some of those fellows up top what it is they see. The list was fairly short. On the east side, there is not much to see close to the bank other than long stretches of neatly mown grass which lead up to fences, and beyond the fences were houses and streets. On the west side there appears to be nothing but woods. Most of the ‘critters’ we see all hours of the day and night – mostly at night – comes from the west side. "Hmm", I wondered outloud, “I must be a city tree then, since technically I live on the east side of the stream”, to which one of the 'flatlanders' replied, “east or west – you still live in the ditch – stubby! HaHa! (Boy, they just love to get in a good laugh at my expense). They said some of the houses looked taller than most of the trees. Not just tall, but BIG houses. Spread out all over the ground, one after another. They said there were a lot of people, too, moving around outside of these houses. Not all day, mostly a little after sunrise they all get into cars and leave. (I know what cars are – I can see them sometimes crossing a bridge way downstream from me. They look mighty small to me since they are so far away). Then a little before sunset, they all return. That was about it they told me.
Well, maybe I was expecting too much this time. Here goes my conscience, I can hear it now, “Big ole’ stubby come up with a big ole’ idea about ‘what’s going on outside that box’ – well, apparently not much”. Yeah, apparently not much…..
"Hey fellas, I tell you what, that there rescue was the most excitement we’ve had around this stretch of ditch since" ….. wait, that’s right, I ain’t supposed to be talking about it…..yeah, uh, change the subject, remember ‘other than’? uh, let’s see now…….
"Well, that sure is a pretty sunset, now ain’t it? Look at those colors. Yeah, light plays funny ways. I guess it just depends on what your perspective is….Well, my fellow ditch dwellers, I am going to slow things down a bit and get some shut eye. Tomorrow is a new day, and I just can’t wait to see what it has to offer….."
In keeping with Shrek 3, Spider Man 3 and Oceans 13 - to name just a few - I have decided to break this thing up into more than two segments. Actually, the real reason is this - I type so slow and always wind up at 2 am trying to finish. So, here it is 2:10 am - I am going to bed.
Good day and God be with you.
G e o r g e