In last month’s post, I remembered the past and glimpsed the future with the help of a sweet, cuddly baby. Today, I’ll fill you in on a new and unusual forestry fashion trend!
While my daughter drives me and my camera through the countryside, I find much of the typical rural Arkansas fare: trees, birds, weeds, flowers, cows, and winding gravel roads. One thing I do not expect to see as we approach a sharp bend in the road is a tree wearing clothing!
Gravel grinds under the tires as my alarmed daughter stomps the break and looks around in bewilderment. “What is it?”
“Look at that tree,” I answer, pointing out the window past my daughter’s shoulder. “There are clothes on that tree! Why would someone dress up a tree? I need a photo of this!”
Hopping out of the car, I snap several photos of the fashionable shade tree and then cross the road and squat down to try a few macro shots of the field grass and fencing. A truck appears out of nowhere and slowly approaches the curve. I check to make sure I’m well off the road before refocusing my attention on a particular strand of barbed-wire.
Suddenly, I realize the truck has pulled off the road near our car, rather than continuing around the curve. I glance over my shoulder, but can’t see the driver from my position.
Hair prickles on the back of my neck as I hear crunching footsteps on the gravel road behind me. “Ok, relax,” I think to myself, “It’s not likely the person is going to attack me!” My car makes a distinctive “click” as my daughter hits the door lock button — there will be no help from her today!
Turning on my heel, I stand up to see the tan, time-worn face of a gray-haired gentleman approaching. “What are you doing here?” he asks in a firm voice.
With as welcoming of a smile as I can muster, I respond with “We’re out taking pictures with my camera.”
“What?” he calls out loudly. “I can’t hear you!”
Raising the camera in front of me, I repeat my answer more slowly and with greater volume.
“What?! I can’t hear you without my hearing aids!” he bellows back while reaching into his jeans pocket.
“Taking pictures!” I shout, waving the camera in the air between us.
He pokes a tiny hearing aid into one ear as he again shouts, “What?! I can’t hear you without my hearing aids!”
Ok, this scene is getting a bit comical! This time I hold up the camera and point at it while smiling and nodding until he places the second hearing aid into the other ear.
Both our voices drop down to a normal decibel level as we begin a friendly conversation about photography and fashion-plate forestry. The tree wearing worker’s safety gear and the fence behind it covered in orange cones and reflective tape are his handiwork. He explains that his fence has been destroyed by vehicles three times in the past year by what he assumes to be drunk drivers.
I’m surprised that could happen so many times, even on such a sharp curve, since the fence is close to thirty feet off the road. Before we go our separate ways, he shares a couple of funny stories that do seem to implicate the work of a drunkard. Oh, the tales his cows could tell!