They were dead, so they had to go. The damn beetles got them. Two no-longer-majestic hundred-foot pines that anchored the southwest corner of our homestead. It took the tree crew two days, six guys wielding chain saws with assistance from a bucket rig, a chipper, and the industrial-strength tongs that are part of a log truck. Now we suddenly have a lot more light and space, but I can’t help grieving a little.
The most startling moment for me was when both trees had been reduced to twenty-foot limbless columns, and the time had come for their felling. First comes the face cut, a precision wedge that will determine exactly where the trunk will fall, and then on the back side, the hinge cut. As the saw was completing the face cut, it must have hit an area of the core that had a deep red color (even though not a redwood,) and the stream of sawdust suddenly turned bloody. That’s what it looked like.
When the first tree had fallen, I went close to look at it, and saw the rings of red wood. And on the cut face of the fallen trunk there was a long gush of sap, weeping.
But it had to be done. These poor old dead giants could have dropped limbs on some passing car and ruined lives. At least we had the skilled help of people who really know their craft and work as an impressive team. When Jimmy climbed the second trunk to set the tie-line that would be winched to start the fall, it was worthy of Baryshnikov. Spurs on the heels of his boots, a padded chain-belt wedding him to the tree, up he went, and at the top, he set the tie-line. He played out the length needed, swung it rhythmically right, left, right, and when he knew he’d got it, one last whip to the left that carried the line right around the back of the tree and into his waiting hand at the side. I whooped and applauded.
Now it’s quiet, and the yard is full of space and light. I mourn the trees whose time had passed, and I praise the men who worked as a team to take them away. In a few days, I will present myself to the skilled team at the hospital who will take my right femur, whose time has also passed, and who will give me my old stride, full of space and light.
I’m building a large desk in our rehearsal studio. It’ll be a nook for writing when I need to isolate myself. While I’m measuring and cutting and screwing and sanding and painting, I can imagine what a profound difference this will actually make in my writing. Once I sit down to it and put my fingertips on the keyboard, I’ll assess what further measuring, cutting, etc., etc., needs to be done in my head to bring it up to optimum pitch.
—From the Fool—
Some candidate said his opponents said bad things about him. That doesn’t happen much in politics, I guess, so he got mad about it. Said he wanted to punch them so hard it’d make their head spin.
Which raised lots of questions to be debated by guys in neckties and gals in hairdos on the news. Would their heads really spin like they do in cartoons, or was he making a promise he couldn’t keep? Did it show his resolve to punch out our enemies in a fight fair and square, or would he drop a bunch of atomic bombs? Did it show he had a sense of humor or that he didn’t? Was he telling the NRA that people shouldn’t get shot if they could be punched in the head? Would he punch ladies in the head or just guys? Would he have to get drunk to do it? Would the Marine general punch him or just kick him in the butt? Would opponents say more bad things after the punching?
In fourth grade I punched Archie. But he punched back, so I didn’t do any more punching.
The good part is, I guess, he makes you think. More than you maybe want to.
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Bishop & Fuller 2016