Over at Hour 25 we were duscussing Homeric similes in preparation for Thursday's guest scholar. I thought comparing the death of Sarpedon to the falling odf a pine on a mountaintop needed a little fleshing out. So I wrote, I wanted to discuss a simile mentioned in the recent tblog-post.
Sarpedon] fell, as when an oak goes down or a white poplar,
or like a towering pine tree which in the mountains the carpenters
have hewn down
Maybe Homer never dropped a towering pine, but I have. I was sawyer on a firefighting crew. There is a moment,a terrible, awesome moment announced by a loud snap. That loud snap is as earthshaking as a thunderbolt. Sawyer and swamper hold their collective breathes. The tree might shatter its length and explode. It might kick back and swat away the sawyerr and his therapon like a mother swatting a fly away. It might hesitate and wobble, the trunk heading downhill while hurling the top like an ashen spear back at th saw team. If it falls the way it should, the sawyer and his swamper quietly follow their escape away and then stop. As first there is no sound, as the pine falls towards the valley below. Then the rush of the wind in the branches begins to roar like the winds thru the forest. Then it slams into the slope below and shakes the earth, loosening boulders and shaking “widowmakers” out of the neighboring trees. The moment ends with the tinkling of loose rocks below and the crash echoing from the opposite hill. That’s how Sarpedon fell.