Voices of Spencer Creek
|Joy of Living: Men Working
They go about the business of removing these giants as easily as I sort dandelions and other unwanted volunteers around my yard.
By Edie Self
Posted on Sep 1, 2007
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It is a wonderful sight to behold! Real men, performing a job that requires knowledge, patience and hard, physical labor. Even when they're engaged in an occupation that hurts my heart, it is a pleasure to watch them work.
For several years I have enjoyed the natural state of the lot across the street. It was subdivided, sold, and then sat vacant, except for the erection of a lovely fence and annual weed-eating, ever since the old house was removed. This spring, there have been signs of activity again, and today the big trees are going down.
A long low-boy arrived early this morning, decanted a big green machine, and left. The timber fallers drove up soon after and I just heard, and felt, the first big trunk hit the ground. Oh, those beautiful trees. I know someone who played under them as a child half a century ago. My own son likely went up one or more of them, playing with his friends who lived there maybe a quarter century ago. Lately, the tall fir, easily over 100 feet high, has been a favorite perch of the winged ones--stellar jays and crows were probably the most common perchers. Oh, there went another one! Ouch!
But back to these lovely men. You know the kind. They drive up in big pick-up trucks with crew cabs, long beds, tool boxes and cans of fuel and who knows what? And they carry chain saws. They quietly go through the routine of setting up--checking out the equipment, starting the chainsaws, running the lift up and down, back and forth, to make sure it will all go. They spoke seldom, and low, sounding like they knew each other and the job well enough to use some kind of vocal shorthand.
Eventually the branches started coming down, and I decided to stay home today, instead of pursuing my usual Tuesday occupations, and be with these trees and honor them and their time here--the shade and shelter and habitat they have provided--the oxygen produced and the dew absorbed. The rewards have been great.
I talked to a neighbor, another man working, this one on his garden, and learned the name of a mystery plant at my house--one that both flowers and berries beautifully. I found out for sure that the chickadees, chased out of their nest outside my kitchen window by a bumblebee this spring, have a family snugly sequestered in a hollow in the second holly tree out front. I can sit on my front porch and watch them flying goodies in to the kids as a sort of relief from the activities across the street.
The guys are apparently having a great time over there. A third faller, this one in a hard hat, arrived a bit ago. I suspect he may be the one who will climb up to take out that high top. There's been more laughter since he arrived, but never, all day, have I heard an angry word or even a hint of "bad language." These guys are pros--they dress their competent bodies in jeans and tee-shirts, or muscle shirts and suspenders--whatever gives them the freedom and provides the support that allows them to get this job done. They work with calm deliberation, knowing what to do first, next, and on down the sequence, with no flurries of temper or irrelevant chatter to be seen or heard. They go about the business of removing these giants as easily as I sort dandelions and other unwanted volunteers around my yard. The scope is huge, but they make it all seem so easy--just follow the step-by-step procedure, and those pesky big trees will simply give way to make it possible to build three houses where once there was one.
I'm sorry to see those trees go. I will miss watching the wildlife that has made that lot part of its territory these last few years. But I will undoubtedly enjoy the extra sunshine next winter, and meanwhile there will be lots of capable, productive, talented, hard-working competent men, and maybe some women too, to entertain my days as the city moves even more tightly into my little corner of the world. And maybe, this fall, I'll plant another tree out back, to provide shade, feed the birds, and help make oxygen for all of us in the neighborhood.
Copyright 2007©Edie Self
Early morning-never quite dark in town.
Wind-tossed tree shadows leap and laugh as I stretch.
A light-colored cat glides swiftly across the back yard,
Hesitates at the garage window, unknowing he is observed.
The street light winks--off--on--off--on--between the cherry tree's dancing limbs.
I smile as I do "Deer turns to look at the moon," thinking
I, too, can make shadows of branches that move in the light
Shadows on shadows, playing on my wall, in the early morning dark.
October 9, 1997
Copyright©2007 by Edie Self
Ms. Self, an occasional contributor to these pages, grew up on the sunny side of Spencer Butte and is a member of the Spencer Butte Writer's Group. Visit the Joy of Living stories and poems by Edie Self at West By Northwest.org:
Joy of Living: Young Melissa and Old Aunt Edie
Joy of Living: Fireglow
Joy of Living: Hummingbird Rescue
Two Spring Shorts from the Spencer Butte Writers Group
Northwest Bloomin' Useless
Curtains in the Wind
One Early Harvest
Wash Day for Robins
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Two Winter Tales and Birding on the Butte
Summer at Grandma's
© Copyright 2000-2006 by West By Northwest.org
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