Friday, October 30, 2009

Harry the Treeman

I'm not one to see a miracle everyday or experience them frequently like some but I do have a story that will make you see your miracle today.
Last Monday I hired Harry. Harry is my mothers tree/handyman who comes highly recommended by all who have him do their odd jobs. Harry is a simple but yet very complicated man who has philosophy on life, knows his lineage better than anyone I know, and also very dedicated to anything he puts his hand to. I had him hired to trim up my " Old Man Tree" a large 75 ft oak tree that we just could not see die. The birds love the tree, we love to look up into the tree while on our patio. We also wanted him to remove an American Elm who is invading another oak tree on the property. This one has been a thorn in our side since we came to live on the property in 1983 but had also decided to die off slowly thus the removal.
When I came home from work I could not believe my eyes, Harry was up in the oak tethered from his bungee/harness hanging from limb to limb armed with a small handsaw, chainsaw on his hip and a long saw. I was truly amazed watching him but also at times felt like I could not watch him for fear he may fall. I became very comfortable after about 15 minutes standing out in the wind and dreary day. Harry had a helper with him this day a man who was recently layed off from work and this man stood below the tree waiting for branches and piling them off to the side as the work continued. When Harry was done with the oak he moved his equipment over to the elm. He uses a ladder instead of tree spikes because he told me that tree spikes hurt the tree and he did not want to hurt the tree.
Jim my hubby came home just before Harry went up the elm and they met each other, conversed for a while. Harry was eating his lunch which consisted of a small sandwich before he tackled the last of his duty. We watched as he put the ladder up against the elm and climbed up the tree. I stepped back towards the back of the house and Jim stood just watching Harry bounce around up in the elm, removing some of the branches from the oak who shared the space along side of the elm. I commented to Jim on how amazing it was to see Harry work and Jim responded " I would hate to do CPR on someone today" in reference to his awe on Harry's gymnastics. Just as I was getting ready to turn the corner I heard Jim say " Oh my God he fell!" and I responded "Shut up".
I looked and saw Harry hanging from his harness from the tree like a rag doll. I just stood there not really knowing what to think and almost thought to myself Harry is just hanging there to wait from help from the boys to get him down. I then walked over and his helper and Jim had ladders up against the tree and climbing to get Harry down. I turned around and there was my nephew Josh which surprised me and asked what he was doing there and he responded that he wanted to hunt and came to ask permission. I then went up to Harry hanging and said to him "Harry you make a good Halloween prop up there" but Harry hung there eyes half open, with his body shaking in little quakes. I ran for the house to find my phone to dial 911.
As I came back out I saw the guys up in ladders trying to get Harry's body around and on the ladder and wondered to myself how we were going to get him down from the tree and unharnessed before the paramedics came. Just as I was ready to dial 911 Harry came "back alive" and I say that literally because that is what happened to Harry. You see, Harry had come in contact with a power line just out from the elm as he proceeded to throw the branch he had in his hand out not to hit the Halloween display I had below him. Upon doing this Harry caught 7500 volts thru his hand and it followed his body and out his legs. I did not see him make contact with the high line but Jim did. Harry managed to get onto the ladder on his own and make it down to the ground with some assistance. He then asked us what happened to him. We told him and it was like he was living in a dream, he kept asking over and over again what happened to him.
I begged him to let me take him to the ER and have him checked out as he has a burn to his left hand, and a large lump on his head. I checked him over and realized when he came down he hit his head, and scraped his leg a bit as he had some blood on his pants. We all stood there for what seemed like an eternity and in the meantime Harry seemed like he saw death. He made a comment to his worker " Well that makes eleven" I'm not sure what that meant but I'm sure he had a few mishaps as a tree man that he didn't want to get into at the moment.
After much begging for him to not continue he proceeded to climb back up in the tree and get the elm cut down and blocked up. He packed up his tools and came to the house so I could pay him. He stood in our kitchen and he looked like he had cheated death another day. He kept asking Jim what happened and really wanted every detail of his demise.
I called Harry just the other night to see how he was doing and it seems that he has some sores on his left leg that were exit wounds from the electricity exiting his body, his head was better and he has since been back to work cutting trees. Harry informed he had a conversation with a retired EMT who told him that that voltage stopped his heart he was a miracle to be alive but what saved him was what really surprised us. Seems the jolt from the fall with his harness on what such a bounce that it jump started his heart again. Jim told me he took quite a fall and he was more worried when Harry fell due to the sudden jolt of the harness that he thought that maybe Harry would have internal damage. He did tell Harry that he would be sore next day due to the harness jolt more than the electricity but Harry said the sores to his wrist and legs were more of a concern to him.
My take on this incident was more than just a miracle for us and for Harry but I do think there were other things that day that made it what it was. Harry's respect for living things, his care in helping others, and his courage to do his job day to day is what makes this story special. You see, the trees in my yard I do believe have some magic, as all living things. Whether it is God, Spirit or just mother earth someone was watching out for all us that day. We have since contacted the electric company about the high line so close to the trees, cleaned up the mess left in the yard and had a brush fire on one of our beautiful fall nights left in October. The month of October has always been one of the turning points for us and our family. Something always seems to "happen" in one form or another during this time of year but I hope we never repeat this sort of thing again.

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