The Alarm Clock Tree: Bad News

Have I told you about the Alarm Clock Tree?

In 2006, the day after I quit my job at the hospital, I drove to the woods and nailed my alarm clock to a tree. That became the Alarm Clock Tree. Since then friends of mine who’ve quit their jobs have ruined and abandoned their alarm clocks there as well. And yesterday I drove near there and found an ugly surprise. A lot of the woods there had been turned into (to quote Brad Neely) “a fucked to death pile of burning caca.”


I walked down into the mess hoping to find some evidence of it, like some pieces of an alarm clock or something. It was hard to tell where to look because everything looked so different but there had always been a really old rusted out car somewhere near the Tree. so I to looked for that first. There it is, looking more flattened but all in all not too much worse than the last time I saw it:


So I looked down hill from there, and oh my gosh! The Alarm Clock Tree was still sort of there, looking much worse than the last time I saw it.

There were still two clocks attached to it, my original one from 2006 and Frosty’s Dream Machine from last fall. Even though it was mostly gone, the Alarm Clock tree is by far the biggest thing still standing in the clear cut. I guess that whoever was cutting either had a sense of humor and appreciated it or saw all the footlong metal spikes in the tree and decided not to mess with that part of it.

Here’s Frosty in the act of attaching the Dream Machine after his last day of graduate school. And you can see the use that the Alarm Clock Tree got during its time from me and Seth and Travis and Driscoll and Rico and Frosty.

Here’s Mike and Frosty and my shadow while walking towards the tree on that same trip.

Here’s a picture from my first trip to the alarm clock tree, the day after my last day of work at OHSU. It felt good destroying the clock in that way and leaving it in a peaceful place to never wake anybody up again but I also kind of felt bad leaving busted up garbage out in the woods like that. I guess I don’t feel bad about it now that the tree trunk it’s attached to is the least fucked up thing in the area.

This picture is also from 2006, the alarm clock tree is the one down the hill in the center with all the moss on it. My clock is on there but it’s hard to make out.

I didn’t walk around the back of the hill to see whether the woods that were so full of chanterelles last fall are still there, but they were working a lot on the logging roads back there so I imagine there are some trees missing over there as well.

It was a bummer to find this had happened yesterday but the weather was beautiful and everything else about the day was awesome so let’s try not to feel too bad.


This is an amazing story. Maybe that alarm clock that you nailed to the tree to never wake anyone up ever again actually did wake someone up. Maybe the loggers who spared the Alarm Clock Tree and saw your message got a wakeup call to the fact that their job kind of sucks, too. Maybe they thought a little bit harder about waking up the next day to go cut down a bunch more harmless, peace-loving, beautiful trees. Maybe not. But it’s a nice thought anyway.

  • Hi! Love your idea about the Alarm Clock Tree! Excellent!

    Although I never saw an alarm clock tree, years ago, circa 1991, I found myself locked away in a drug rehab in Dublin, New Hampshire, for a month.

    They had a tree out back of the facility off a well-worn trail, the name of which escapes me…but all the patients at the drug rehab, when they left, would hammer their plastic hospital wrist bands into the tree with a quarter.

    You couldn’t miss the tree since it was not only dead from all the abuse, but quite literally covered with quarters and plastic wrist bands. I thought that was pretty cool.


  • So we got your postcard in the mail today, and I must say that this news was not good news. Those lumberjacks were lazy. If I was a lumberjack clear cutting a beautiful forest where countless people happened upon their first chanterelle in the wild & 6 people crucified their alarm clocks to a tree, I would not let said tree and it’s foot long spikes stand between me and a job well done. I’m just saying.

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