[NOTE: I will return to my reflections on the Notre-Dame fire and prospects for the renewal of U.S. Catholicism in the near future.]
About 1 am last night, post-milonga, I was driving in the rain northward on a windy, wooded stretch of Lincoln Drive that cuts through Philly's Fairmount Park when the traffic in both lanes came to a quick halt. Three cars in front of me, a mid-sized tree had fallen across the road, its upper branches reaching over a three-foot-high concrete median into the oncoming lane. Soon it became clear there was no turning around, no side-street detour, for the hundreds of cars pooling up behind the downed tree. We all were stuck.
While most drivers chose to stay dry and settle into the glass-cockpit comfort zone I write about in chapter 10 of Sustainable Abundance for All, some of us decided not to wait for the authorities. I joined a dozen or so millennials in the wet street, and we formed a tree-removal brigade leaning-in hard this way and that, breaking off every branch we could, and getting bounced back by the main trunk when our lean-in reached nature's limit. At one point someone quipped "welcome to the frontier," which garnered a good laugh. A bit risky, yes, but everyone was motivated and mindful as we went about our tree-removal task.
About fifteen minutes into the project an ABC reporter was shooting video. A burly lumber sexual among us took issue, barking at him to help out. At one point a tow trucker stopped to help, but the road was too slick to effect a chain hauling away. Then, after more attempts at leaning in and a few moments of discouragement, one more big heave-ho yielded the cracking sound we knew meant victory.
A few high-fives later (and with a few parting middle fingers for the ABC dude), the brigade disbanded as quickly as it had come together. The traffic flow commenced. Some of us grimed up our driver's seat with ground-up bark and sweat, but we felt good about how we took hold together and cleared a way for all.
No cops or other city personnel had been sighted. None were needed.