• D. Randall Faro

Death in Two Minutes

Give or take one hundred and twenty seconds. Compare that to forty-five years. I counted forty-five rings on the stump of a majestic western hemlock that it took two minutes to fell. The City deemed it a hazard to private property, so down it came. Barely two minutes to cut through the two-and-a-half-foot diameter trunk. Four and a half decades terminated in seconds.


It is all too easy to accomplish similar destruction in other areas of life. Lady Prudence would counsel us to exercise caution and care lest we metaphorically cut down mature and important trees in our lives. A paramount consideration: inter-personal relationships.


A valued relationship developed over decades can be destroyed in seconds. Words and acts, or the dearth of them, can fell a relationship as quickly as a chain saw chews through an old-growth Douglass fir. Sometimes a person will spend years hacking off branches before severing the trunk completely. Other times it can be an act of consummate unfaithfulness that executes the relationship. One bile-spewing loss of temper can cause seemingly irreparable damage. One sad case is a friend of mine who lives just a few miles from his father but has not spoken to him for over five years.


Except for the rare true hermit, human relationships are the stuff of life. They are that which should be the focus of our most careful and considerate attention. We all make mistakes, but the one we really do not want to make is buzz-sawing to death a long-term personal affiliation that has been or is a life-enhancing one.


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