You know you still may be a wee bit too relaxed upon returning from a meditation retreat when you encounter a noose hanging from your walnut tree and instead of saying “holy shitballs! it’s a fucking noose!”, you simply go “Huh. I wonder what that noose is doing there?” and then head off to work as if you didn’t have a fucking noose hanging ten feet from your back door.
It’s not a very big noose. You couldn’t hang a person from it, though you could fit a cat or small dog. But, no question, it’s a noose, complete with a hangman’s knot. I guess my immediate thought was that it had been there for a while, hidden by the leaves that had recently fallen. Perhaps it was left by my landlord or some arborist during a tree trimming adventure. That really is, by far, the least alarming theory, and this morning that explanation sufficed. Though, I figured I’d make a few phone calls to my landlord, the Boyfriend, and a neighbor, who are the only people who have any reason to be up near my back porch.
It wasn’t until I started hearing back from those folks that I started to become alarmed. My landlord wants me to call the police. A little extreme, I think, but I’ll consider it. My neighbor was thoroughly creeped out and may be a little frightened to associate with me now. But, it was the Boyfriend’s reaction that made me realize how crazy this is.
“Hey hon, do you recall seeing a noose hanging from the walnut tree lately?” I asked nonchalantly.
There was a pause of several seconds. I thought maybe we had lost our connection. Finally, he sputtered, “What? Did you say . . . noose?”
“Yeah, a noose. A small one, but a noose. Have you seen it before?” I blithely asked.
“A noose? Like with a hangman’s knot? A fucking noose?” he asked incredulously.
“Yeah, yeah, a noose. I figured it’s been there for a while and we just didn’t see it because of the leaves. My guess is that a tree trimmer left it there.” I said as if everyone had a fucking noose hanging from one of their trees.
“A tree trimmer wouldn’t use a hangman’s knot. They would just use a loop” he said with some impatience as if I should be fully familiar with the type of knots used by arborists.
“Oh, OK. Just checking. I’ll look at it in the morning and figure out whether I should inform the police. Talk to you later. I have to go to a meeting.” I said rather abruptly. I just didn’t want to hear his conspiracy theories as why I would have a fucking noose hanging from my walnut tree.
Maybe it’s the inner stillness that remains from the retreat or maybe I’m fooling myself, but I’m not that worried. I like my story that it is the remnants of a tree trimming adventure, and I think I’m sticking to it. But, in case you never hear from me again, please tell the police about that stupid fucking noose hanging from the old walnut tree.
Update: Even though ignorance was indeed bliss in this case, I decided to break my bliss bubble and follow up on my theory that it was simply some rope left over by a tree trimmer. So, I Googled “Aborists, Marin County” and called the one that sound vaguely familiar.
LazyBuddhist (LB): Hi. Uh . . . I have a kind of weird question
Aborist Chick (AC): Oh, aren’t they all? Shoot.
LB: OK, so . . . uh . . . well . . . OK, so during the course of an aborist doing his or her job chopping some limbs off a tree, would they ever use a hangman’s knot on the rope they use to grab the limbs?
AC: A hangman’s knot?
LB: Yeah, you know, the kind they use when they make a noose.
AC: A noose.
LB: Yeah, a noose. Do they ever create a noose type loop when working on a tree?
AC: Nope. No nooses.
LB: Are you sure?
AC: Yep. So, ya got a noose in your tree?
LB: Yep. It’s not a human size noose though.
AC: Squirrel sized?
LB: What, are you implying I have suicidal squirrels?
AC: No, not at all. I’m sure your squirrels are very happy.
LB: They are, thank you very much. No, I would say it’s kind of Corgi sized.
AC: I think I can safely say we never make Corgi sized nooses during the course of our work. Anything else I can help you with?
LB: No, I guess I need to go call the police now. Thanks for your help.
AC: No no no, thank you. This story has made my day and will no doubt provide much laughter to colleagues. Good luck with that noose.