I had made the initial cuts and knew the tree was close to falling. My wife and I had just tried to pull it down with some rope, but it obviously needed a little more cutting. I got back up the ladder and gingerly cut deeper with the chainsaw (if such a thing is possible). Luckily, because I cutting so little at a time, the chainsaw was off when the first telltale, ominous “CRACK” of falling wood sounded. If the chainsaw was operating, I never would’ve heard it and that thing would’ve come right down on my head.
As you can see from the photo it was a really close call. I had to take a flying leap off the ladder, with my wife yelling “Run!” in the background and more cracks sounding above. Of course, I forgot to drop the chainsaw and jumped with it tightly gripped in my hand. Thank God for the safety features on the thing. It’s interesting how time slows down when something bad is about to happen, isn’t it?
The scary part is, I was doing everything right. I made the “V” cut in the direction that I wanted it to fall, and was making the straight cut on the other side. We already had the rope around it to pull it down in the proper direction. Turned out gravity had other ideas. And once a tree has started to fall, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, besides get the hell out of the way.
“The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.” Never a truer statement. I strained something in the jump, and had a lot of knee pain for two weeks, but everything is good now.
I’m sure that a near-miss experience can serve an author well. Although I hope it never happens again.
What’s your best story about a near-miss?