Riddle of the Universe Solved!


I have often wondered, as so many millions have before me, if a tree falls in the wilderness and there is no one around to see it, does it indeed make a sound?

After last night's thunderstorm came through, I can answer unequivocally a resounding YES!

I was just sitting down to dinner in my little house in the woods and others were milling about on the west end of our communal complex when suddenly leaves started flying past my window, the sky turned grey, and there was this horrendous, bone-crushing, loud crash.

"Oh please, please, please," I thought. "Please not my car!"

I needn't have worried. After quickly throwing on a shirt and my river sandals, I walked outside and saw everyone else head towards the highway where a massive tree branch had fallen across the road. Traffic was already stopped. So about 20 of us raft guides did what raft guides do...we lined up, grabbed the tree, and pulled it off the road. Traffic resumed without so much as a wave of thanks from the motorists.


But even though none of us were around to see the tree smack the pavement, we all heard it, thus proving once and for all that when trees fall in the wilderness, they do indeed make a sound.

Unfortunately, the tree episode was not the last of the evening. While there was no tornadic activity, and only a brief period of intense rain and the high winds had passed us by with the super cell; our power did go out, and with it, power to the pump in our well--which we are still waiting for the power company to restore. That means no water.

So I packed up my toothbrush and toothpaste and mouthwash and brought them to work with me this morning. But it got me to thinking. For a few seconds there this morning with no water, I thought..."What do I do?" It was almost comical, really, if you think about it. The same guy who takes hundreds of guests down the river every year, the same guy trained in Wilderness First Aid and CPR, the same guy who helped pull a fallen tree off the highway, couldn't figure out how to brush his teeth.

It just goes to show you all the things we take for granted until they're not around. Water is kind of important.


And as hurricane season ramps up into high gear with Dolly now threatening somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico, I encourage all of you reading this post to take the time to check your home first-aid kits and emergency supplies. Do you have a plan for a prolonged power outage? Do you have bottled water and unexpired canned food around to feed you and your family and your pets for a week? Do you have an evacuation plan in case of a hurricane or any other natural disaster?

These are all things to think about ahead of time so that when the tree smacks the pavement near you, you're not wondering--like I was this morning--what to do.

Thanks for reading.

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LadyJava said...

Hi Matt
Am here with LJL.. and here to vote for you in BotB as well.. Good luck!!

July 22, 2008 10:22 AM
cmwheeler said...

great point. We absolutely need to be prepared for emergency situations, especially families with young children.

July 22, 2008 10:49 AM
Daisy said...

I live in south Florida and we do not enjoy hurricanes one bit! We are hoping for a quiet season like last year. But we have a hurricane kit prepared, just in case. And luckily our house has hurricane shutters. Even though they take many, many hours to put up.

ps: I would have waved my paw as a "thank you" for moving the tree.

July 22, 2008 10:59 AM
6000 said...

Motorists don't thank people here either.

But it was asunny day anyway.

July 22, 2008 2:12 PM
Matt said...

Matt, thanks for answering that question that so many of us have pondered over the years. lol Also, I know you still got as much satisfaction from helping those people as you would have if they had stopped and taken the time to personally thank you. The reward for a good deed is in your heart, not in the hearts of those you help. Nice post! Matt @ Matt-Speak

July 22, 2008 2:22 PM
Tricia said...

I'm glad no one was hurt by the fallen tree branch. Sounds like it was huge!

We've had several poweroutages here since early Sunday morning - why? Not sure ... but this morning someone (a truck) hit the electrical wire that goes over the street so that caused yet another outage. I guess we've had 7 in all in the last two or so days. So yeah ... we're starting to learn how to live without things we're used to here.

Glad you figured out how to brush your teeth!

July 22, 2008 4:33 PM
Mrs. Mecomber said...

Wowee. Hey, Matt-- I've got a couple of trees in my yard that need moving. Feel like gathering up your neighbors and yanking them out? lol, way to go. ;) Glad no one was hurt!

July 22, 2008 6:58 PM
Jenny-up the hill said...

We had a huge tree fall right beside our house a few years ago. My son, who was 9 at the time, was using the bathroom and he said he saw the tree falling toward the house...and he started praying that he would not die while sitting on the toilet! lol!! It was very scary that day...now we laugh about it. Fortunately, we don't get that kind of weather often...

And thanks for the reminder to check the first aid kits...I need to restock my kit for the car.

July 22, 2008 10:00 PM
LuckyGirl said...

Several years ago an ice storm knocked out our power for over a week. Brushing our teeth was a minor problem. Changing an infant's diapers by candlelight and warming bottles on a wood stove was a lot trickier!

July 22, 2008 11:19 PM
LuckyGirl said...

Several years ago an ice storm knocked out our power for over a week. Brushing our teeth was a minor problem. Changing an infant's diapers by candlelight and warming bottles on a wood stove was a lot trickier!

July 22, 2008 11:20 PM
crazy working mom said...

Well, I'm glad your car was spared and you were not hurt. Take care and stay safe. I'll send good thoughts your way that Dolly takes it easy on you guys!

July 22, 2008 11:29 PM
Matthew S. Urdan said...

Ladyjava and CMwheeler, thanks for stopping by to vote and to validate the need for readiness and supply kits.

Daisy, I know you would have waved your paw because you're such an awesome cat. I'm glad you've got safety supplies and hurricane shutters so you'll stay nice and safe.

Motorists, thanks for stopping by. I think you're a new reader here. Where are you that motorists don't acknowledge others? You couldn't be from Detroit, could you? I had a post about that last week. ;)

Matt, glad to see you back in the blogosphere, and it's my pleasure to finally solve that riddle. Oh, and my "Bastards." comment was completely sarcastic. I was looking for a compliment. We were glad to get the tree out of the highway. But sometimes, it would be nice if the lazy old farts in a hurry and honking their horn in their air-conditioned car while others cleared the road--which was not necessary at all and we could have waited for a road crew--could just say thanks. It's just manners. That's all.

Tricia--yeah, from the sound of your blog, there have been a lot of storms near you in Canada lately. Thanks for your well wishes. You know, with so many 80-120' trees around, if any one of them falls the wrong way at any time, it could so easily take out a car or one of our homes. That would be tragic indeed.

Yeah, I'm glad I figured out to brush my teeth as well. I'm a pretty smart individual, but for somethings I just need an explanation. Or a lightbulb turned on. Y'know? I think it happens more and more often the older I get.

Mrs. Mecomber--my posse would love to take care of removing or moving your wayward trees. Airfare to New York from Charlotte for 20 is about $18,500. I accept paypal.

Jenny, yeah, that would be scary. Kind of like the scene in Poltergeist where the tree branches invade the house and grab the boy and kind of swallow him? That kind of scary? I'm glad everyone was okay and you all survived that horrible incident. It is laughable now, in a dark "there I was" kind of way. ;)

LuckyGirl--all I can say is better you than me. Fortunately, 1. I have no kids, so 2. No diapers to change by candlelight or bottles to warm with a wood stove! Besides, I'm not up to living without power 301, as clearly you are. I still need to graduate living without power 101. Now that I've figured out how to brush my teeth, I need to figure out how to find my clothes and put them on right side out in the dark. ;)

Crazy working mom--thanks for the well wishes. While we don't wish Dolly on anyone, we would like her to kind of camp out for a few hours and end our drought. We don't want flooding, but we would like our rivers and reservoirs refilled.

C'mon Dolly, we need you here. Leave Texas and Mexico alone!


July 23, 2008 1:11 AM
Jackie said...

Thank goodness it didn't hit your car or anyone driving down the road.

Water is always a problem. Electricity I have adapted to with ours going off very regularly...I have my little gel hot plate and a rechargeable light, but I always get caught out when having a water is switched off.

July 23, 2008 3:13 AM

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