Readers might suppose that I am kinda macho. You know? Wilderness man, deck-builder, blog-writer? Pretty high testosterone stuff. That and making sushi. “I am Samurai!”. Aaaarggh!
But the truth is I have a sensitive side. Well, girly, if you must. Chicken-poop, for sure. Stupid also works. Some things terrify me. Or at least gross me out. I am pretty squeamish about killing a deer, for instance. They are just so pretty, ya know?
But I am workin’ on it. My therapist says that I will be able to kill soon. All I have to do is listen to more CBC news, follow Harper’s political moves and attend some fundamentalist church regularly and I should be ready to go postal soon enough. I think it’s workin’.
But trees still frighten me. I am definitely not a brave lumberjack. I am not a logger. Falling trees scares the bejeezuz out of me. You see, I made the mistake of reading the Worker’s Compensation Fallers’ and Buckers’ Handbook and I am now quite sure it was the inspiration behind the Chainsaw Massacre movie series. Stephen King probably has a copy. Dropping a big tree is, it seems to me, a fifty-fifty proposition. The tree falls dead or else I do.
Anyway, I mention all this because, like the doofus I am, I am halfway through building the deck out back and, starting on the part that will support the new studio, I glanced up and saw a humongous dead tree leaning in the exact direction needed to fall directly onto the building to be. Clearly this behemoth was going to fall within a year or so and just as clearly it was going to fall on my new building when it did.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have taken down trees. A man has to do, after all. But, until now, I have been able to limit the opposition to skinny little fellers. I consider anything under ten inches in diameter a tree I can push around. Anything ten and and half inches or larger is a bully and shouldn’t be messed with. This puppy was at least eighteen inches and I dubbed it Godzilla.
These are the kinds of challenges that keep me in the lower end of amateur status when it comes to building. “Hey, Dave, have you checked to make sure any huge dead trees won’t fall on your building site?”
“Oh, gee! No, I haven’t. Thanks for reminding me. I’ll look up next time I am there!”
It is truly amazing how anything ever gets done around here and how incredibly unlikely it is that I am still around to record it.
I called a lumber-buddy and he came down. I stated in my best macho voice that I fully intended to take the tree down myself but, as I was scared and shaking even on the phone talking about it, I would appreciate some coaching.
So, he came down and looked at the tree. I really hoped that he would say, “Never mind, I’ll do it.” And I was going to insist that I do it instead, hoping that he would persist and then, after dancing around like that for a bit, I would graciously allow him to do it.
The bastard said, “Of course you are going to do it! I’m not going to put myself in harm’s way. It’s your tree. Time to grow a pair, Dave!”
“Good, we can put this off then? While I grow a pair?”
“That piddly little saw work? Ya got a man’s saw?”
Of course, I lied. Like a man. “Oh, my really big honker is in the shop. I’m going to have use this little girly one. It’s Sally’s. It’s pretty piddly, alright, but it will have to do.”
He snorted in disgust at what I considered to be a lethal killing machine. Twirling it over his head like a baton and laughing he said, “Well, we can make it work, I guess. It is kinda cute.”
And so, with his coaching, I took the necessary steps and watched the tree as it began to topple. It had moved, perhaps, a foot at the top when I considered that a good enough indication of gravity working and lit out for safer ground. I was practically in the next county by the time it fell. I was so far away, I didn’t hear it crash. Took me five minutes of hiking to get back to where I had cut. Usain Bolt couldn’t have run that distance any faster.
My friend looked around for more trees to topple. I suggested tea and muffins instead. I needed some time for my heart to stop pounding. As we headed in for tea, Sal looked at me like I was a real lumberjack. Felt good Aaaaarggh!