Mourning a Venerable Oak Tree

My blogging was interrupted Sunday night by a power outage at home.  A neighbor’s huge oak tree had fallen, totally blocking the street and taking out some important power lines (as well as part of a house, slightly injuring the owner, and scaring the bejeezus out of her young daughter who had been sleeping in her bedroom very close to the fallen tree.)

Closer inspection of the tree in the daylight of Monday morning showed that it was rotting inside the trunk.  It looked totally healthy on the outside and was a truly gorgeous specimen, said to be the oldest in San Mateo County.  It was an icon of our small street, beloved by all.

A few things have come to mind during my blogging contemplation:

A risk management plan was in place: branches had been thinned to keep it from becoming top-heavy.   But something had been missed.

That mighty oak tree looked great, was truly beautiful, was pronounced fit just recently, and no one thought to look more closely, inside, to see if it was truly healthy.

Our street is a circle, and so, even with that venerable-but-now-impenetrable obstacle in the way, there was a workaround, a backup plan, for allowing neighbors to come and go. 

We had recently suffered another power outage caused by the storms, and so we had our lessons-learned list at the ready.  Batteries had been newly installed in lights, the freezer was nearly empty, we had some ground coffee on hand (did you know you can’t grind coffee beans without electricity?)

Metaphors abound.


Anita Wotiz
Instructor, UCSC Extension
Software Requirements Engineering
Software Project Planning, Monitoring, and Management


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