Monday, March 14, 2016

High and Low Tech

I heard from the computer technician today, and everything on my hard drive has been lost. Everything.  Nothing is recoverable, and I've lost all my music (over 100 gigs), all my photographs, my email files, the programs I've purchased, everything.

In his defense, the technician did offer to assist me by sending the hard drive to California, where it could possibly be rebuilt and some (or none) or the data might be recovered, but that cost, he warned me, was "in the thousands."

Everything's impermanent, and this is a lesson in non-attachment. I lost a lot of music, but I hadn't listened to the vast majority of it it months, if not years - it was just comforting to know that if the occasion ever arose, I had everything from the complete Rolling Stones discography to the most obscure and hard-to-find indie folk-rock songs of 2011.  

Almost everything can be streamed nowadays, anyway, so there's really no big loss, but the pictures will be missed.  I have most everything from September 2011 to the present backed up on Flickr, and I still have the original photographs from childhood to about 1998 that I had scanned and can always scan them again, but my digital photographs from 1998 to 2011 are mostly lost forever, except for those that have been posted here, and don't I regret all those goofy treatments and manipulations I'd done on them now that the originals are lost (but I also lost the software used to treat the photos, so you're not likely to see those again).  I'll never again see Liz eating breakfast in a terrycloth bathrobe on the porch of our hotel room in Florence, or that view of Mount Hood from that corporate condo in Portland.  But those are just memories, and I'm probably more pained by the idea of having lost them than any comfort that they ever brought me when I did have them.

But this post isn't about that - this is a post about trees.  Today, I had three different contractors come by to get estimates on the cost for taking down a large tree that's been ominously leaning over my house, and leaning at a greater angle the past year or so than in the past.  The tree is 42-inches across at the base, and to make things even more "interesting," the tree is fairly high up on a hill and behind my neighbor's house (it's actually on their property) and there's no access between the tightly spaced urban houses to bring in cranes or other equipment that would be needed to haul the big timber away once it was cut.  Two of the three contractors said, at least at first, that it simply couldn't be done, and the one that thinks he can do it envisions a labor-intensive process of workers hand carrying hundreds of sections down the steep hill our houses occupy.

It won't be easy, and it certainly won't be cheap, but the sister tree formerly next to the one I want removed fell a couple summers ago and completely demolished my neighbors house. They would have been killed had they been home, but fortunately were up in the mountains for the weekend. Every time there's a storm, I'm in a state of anxiety about the remaining tree coming down on me, and not feeling safe in your own home is no way to live.

As if to underscore the urgency, a tree came down today a mile or so away from here and tragically killed a utility worker unfortunate enough to have been beneath it at the time.  According to the press:
ATLANTA -- Rescuers scrambled to a scene in Buckhead Monday morning after a man was hit by a falling tree.
It happened around 10:30 Monday morning on Springlake Dr. NW. An Atlanta Fire and Rescue spokesperson confirmed the worker was killed.
11Alive Sky Tracker showed a broken bucket at the top of an extended bucket truck near the tree. A large section of the top of the tree appeared to have cut and was lying on the ground under the broken bucket.
A City of Atlanta spokesperson is on the scene and working to confirm if the worker was a city employee.   
Traffic had been blocked on Northside Drive and I could hear the ambulance sirens and the sound of emergency chain saws cutting, and while the contractors were looking at my tree, the 11Alive and other news helicopters were still noisily buzzing overhead, as if to remind us of the potential consequences of inaction. 

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