Be Careful What You Ask For

When I first arrived, it seemed to me that those crazy Brazilians sure liked to chop things down a lot.

“That’s a gorgeous, living being!” I gasped.

“Hah. It will grow back,” they said.

IMG_3998.JPGNowhere was the debate strongest than around the base of the huge tree in our back yard. Towering and shady, it was the corner coffee shop for all the local birds and even a few monkies. Its canopy provided the most delicious shade in the heat of summer. You could stand under it in the hardest of rains and not get wet at all.

“You’re nuts! Chop it down!” they said.

“No way!” I bellowed.

So I ate my serving of hippy, humble pie all toasty and warm one morning last year when we awoke to realize that it wasn’t thunder last night, it was part of that gorgeous canopy coming down.

It just missed our car, and shaved off the shed on our outdoor kitchen.


Whew. We counted ourselves VERY LUCKY. We cleared the mess, rebuilt the kitchen roof for the better (really, the tree did us a demolition favor), and we were fine. That could have been so much worse.

I was sold. That tree had to go. It was a public health hazard. Grandpa Crônicas gave the aftermath one sideeye and started parking his car on the other side of the yard.

For the past year Mr. Crônicas and I have been sitting in its shade, eyeing up at that monster, wondering HOW, for the love of God, were we going to chop it back safely before it fell on the house? That gorgeous tree was the Wall Street Big Bank of our backyard–too big to be safe, too big to take down.

And then a torrential storm happened yesterday afternoon. We’re in the middle of a drought. Everyone has been praying for rain for weeks. In retrospect, maybe a little too hard. The rain and winds knocked out power in multiple sections of town and flood waters pulled up street paving stones.

We came home from work that night to find our driveway completely blocked by this:


On closer inspection, it is more than a little amazing. 

It didn’t scratch the house.


It didn’t hit the power lines.


It didn’t hit any of the surrounding trees.


And the whole tree came down at once.


Seriously, we couldn’t have paid someone do to it better.

So whatever you call it–guardian angels, Mother Nature, Pachamama, dark matter, whatever–something out there is looking out for us.

And just a little reminder to you: be careful what you ask for. You might just get it.

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  1. Malvina, you’re in Minas, right? I think we experienced the same storm. Thankfully we don’t have any trees to worry about, but our patio, bathroom, and kitchen flooded BIG TIME last year. My husband installed a two feet high concrete barrier at the back door so that the water wouldn’t enter our house during the next rainy season. I cursed him up and down every time I whacked my foot crossing over that thing. But after seeing this storm I was happy to have it. I’ve never experienced storms quite like these Brazilian ones… and I lived through Superstorm Sandy! I can’t believe how lucky you guys were.. any plans for the fallen tree?

    • Yep! Minas! It probably was the same one. I have NO IDEA what we’re going to do with that tree! It’s huge, even when chopped into logs (which we did yesterday). It’s soft wood–not good for firewood. And piles of logs attract vermin–rats and scorpions like piles of wood. So we need to deal with it somehow. A bonfire of epic proportions, perhaps?

      • At least the smoke should help clear out some mosquitos! Could you slice the log into seats? I’ve seen some cool stuff on Pinterest!

        • I know, right? Benches were my first thought! The family tells me the wood is too soft for even that–it will rot quickly. I’m tempted to try anyhow. We have SO MUCH of it to get rid of!

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