Montgomery Township,
New Jersey

Dan has a tree business. I met him eight years ago when he removed two trees that fell during a winter storm onto the roof of my new house, their muddy roots upturned and caked with ice. Dan arrived with a crane and a crew, and the trees were gone in less than an hour.

“I feel like someone painted a target on my roof,” I said.

He grinned. “Don’t take it personally,” he said. His beard was thick and black, and he squinted against the glare of sunlight on snow. “These are old trees. Trees fall down all the time around here. Some of my property backs onto yours. You probably don’t know it, but I’ve got twenty acres of final-growth forest right behind you.

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