both being armed with the intent to shoot, a huge, falling beech tree
is what nearly kills them when they finally come face-to-face. The tree immobilizes the men, and in pinning them, prevents either man from using his rifle to murder the other. The force of a winter storm fells the tree. On one hand, this event shows the random power of nature, and how it doesn’t abide by man’s feuds or allegiances. On the other hand, nature’s perfect timing—felling the tree just as the two men round it and see each other—might suggest some sort of divine order, one in which nature teaches the two men a lesson about their limited power.