My mud boots sank into the squishy grey matter and made a suction sound each time I took a step. When I finally made it to the fallen branches, I discovered that even if i managed to drag them, I'd never make it home. The willow arms were too heavy with pungent mud and stubborn green leaves.
That's when I got the looks. Oh, right - they're staring at my then cadmium red hair. No, you goof - they're calling the foreman. Not only are you trespassing, you're not wearing a helmet or steel toed boots.
I returned much later. Only one guy was still working. Looking up at him in his digger, I couldn't decide if the machine or the man was more menacing. Turned out his name was Mike. Heavily bearded and crudely tattooed, he would have easily passed for a bouncer at the former Marble Arch or Cecil. Stuttering, I managed to spit out that I just wanted a few branches for an installation in Vancouver. "Would that be okay?" He climbed down, asked me how I wanted them cut up, proceeded to skillfully carve the half alive tree limbs with a chainsaw and then offered me the keys to his construction truck. "Your truck is too small and pretty. You'll scratch it all up." I've kept one beautifully squiggly branch to this day. It's 12 feet tall. I hung Chinese wind chimes on it.