6:20 Sunday morning . . . Get up 10 minutes before the alarm clock to feed the cats, who had been jumping up on the bed to remind me that I forgot to fill their food dish before going to sleep last night.
While in the pantry filling their dish, I hear that unmistakable sound of a falling tree - the crashing of branches, the crack of splitting wood. I brace for the impact, instinctively hunching up my shoulders to protect my neck, but hear no impact. I stand there for a moment or two until I am sure that there is no further danger.
I go outside to assess the damage, and see that the tree that fell was in my next-door-neighbor's yard, and demolished their roof.
Fortunately, no one was home. They're retired and have taken to spending their summers up at a lake in the North Georgia mountains. But the damage to their house is significant, even catastrophic.
I let them know what happened, apologizing for calling so early and for being the bearer of bad news. They're on their way back now to what's left of their home. The Fire Department's been by (another neighbor called 911) to assure that there are no electric lines down or gas leaks, and the couple's adult son has been by to assess the damage.
The tree came down less than 50 feet from where I had been sleeping earlier that morning, 60 feet from the pantry I was standing in at the moment of impact. I have a good dozen trees that size or larger in my back yard, and it's only a matter of time before one comes down on my house, and a matter of probability as to whether or not I'm home at the time or in the path of the falling tree.