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If a Tree Falls in the Forest

Casa Majulana
Aug. 5, 2005

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If a tree falls in the forest, and no one can hear it because the seven girls having a birthday party sleepover at the cabin are still laughing and fighting at 10:30 pm, does it make a noise? Or does it just bring down a power line and knock out the electricity? And is this a fire hazard? And how would you move seven kids off a mountain on fire, given that the fallen tree has blocked your only path out?

These questions have baffled philosophers for ages. And they kept us up half the night, too, while we waited for PG&E's guy, who arrived around 1:30 am -- which, by the way, feels more like 4:30 am if you've just spent a week on the East Coast. I met him out on the path and clambered around the dropped fir with him while while he reassured me that the downed lines were inert, and we agreed repairs could wait for daylight.

In the morning, I dragged the camp stove out of the Eurovan and fried pancakes over little blue flames. Then we hit the beach.