Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tree Man

I have been splitting wood a lot these days. Last spring my brother Steven came across the country to help me by taking down eighteen fir trees, most about a hundred feet high. When he went back home, I wondered how I was going to deal with all those trees on the ground, and eventually started hauling, stacking and splitting all on my own! I like doing it - didn't really think I could - and love that strong women stay young and live longer.
It had taken me years and years to be willing to cut down even one tree, but with my garden in too much shade I finally asked my brother to help. How generous of a bro is that, to leave his family and work and travel all the way across the country, then work so hard while here? I love my brother!
     He was so respectful, he LOVES trees as do I. Once when we were kids he transplanted a willow tree about twenty feet high, and every day he stood there talking to it, watering and watering, just willing it to live.     
     Back to my place this past spring. Steve was up every morning early and was a delight to watch - he walked straight up each tree using just his ankle spurs and hands. Then he would loop a rope from his waist around the crown and let go, floating sort of like Tinkerbell up there in the branches with his saw. He showed me how to do knots and pull on the rope from the bottom, saying, "Make sure you walk away so the tree doesn't come down on you."     
     Once a tree was down, Steve cut it into rounds, the ones I am now splitting for firewood. We both worked to get every piece and branch and twig in order before going to the next. Nothing wasted, all in order, zen beautiful. And he would study each tree carefully, plan his moves, before he went to work, because he would have to fell a 100-foot giant into a 30-foot space. He could fell a tree to within an inch of where he wanted it to go. Always a pleasure to watch a master in any field.
     Working side by side with my brother was a privilege and wonderful pleasure. I took good care to feed him like a king, made sure he drank lots of water and soaked his sore muscles, got him to the chiropractor and masseuse, gave him warm milk with honey at bedtime. We laughed a lot - he and I were born on the same day, though not twins, and always close.     
     I had been afraid that taking down my beautiful trees would seem a great loss, but because my tree-loving brother worked with such care and respect, it all felt like a healthy change. I can never thank Steve enough for all the sunshine in my garden this summer, the good harvest, and the cozy warmth in my house now that the weather is cold and rough. And there are still at least three hundred or so trees left, in fact my place is called Little Woodland Farm.
Thanks again, Steve!

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