Sunday, May 08, 2005

I'm a Lumberjack and I'm ... Barely Competent

So, what did you spend your last weekend doing? I spend mine chopping up trees with a chainsaw - manly work with manly tools and a manly pain in my lower back for most of the week.

The story begins several weeks ago. In our back yard is a drainage ditch creek that has, over the many centuries, dug itself into a trench about 4 feet deep in most places. The pace of this erosion was so rapid that it completely caught a few trees off-guard, including one relatively large poplar tree that has been leaning at a 60 degree angle ever since some of its more important roots were left immodestly exposed.

Here in Georgia, we have a phenomenon known as wind storms. They aren't tornadoes, and they aren't always accompanied by rain. It's just a lot of very strong, gusty wind that serves nature's need to clean out dead limbs from treetops and remove faulty roofing products from homes. We had one come through a few weeks ago, and the aforementioned poplar tree took the opportunity to complete its journey to earth - about five feet away from the swingset where my children were currently playing. For me, this was sufficient justification for significant arboreal violence.

So, after a thorough search of the attic, basement, and garage, I discovered and recommissioned my trusty chainsaw, which to my memory had been moved through at least two homes without being even filled with fuel. Surprisingly, it started up with only slightly painful effort and minor banging with screwdrivers and a hammer.

Under careful supervision from two minors observing from the safety of the aforementioned swingset, I managed to (eventually) turn the offending tree into more manageable 2-foot sections, during which process I discovered that poplar trees have an interesting defence mechanism. They stink inside. I was thoroughly convinced that I had stepped in a deposit left by a roaming neighbor dog. Who knew that instead I was thoroughly coating myself and soaking my favorite work clothes in sawdust and sap that was intended to punish anyone who dared to harm the mighty poplar.

In fact, we didn't figure out the source of the smell until the next day - after firstborn child had left a piece of the tree in the car overnight where it fermented nicely.

Still, you can't beat the fact that I work during the week in a very highly technical and international job while on the weekend I get to pretend to be a woodsman in my own little refuge.

That's why I live in Atlanta.

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