Strix the harbinger
guards the exit gate, quizzing all
Who will pass this night?

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Druid With a Chainsaw

A screaming chainsaw is one of the angriest sounds in the world, right up there with a machine gun. The tree grinder will turn an 18" tree trunk into wood chips so fast it's scary - but not without some loud protests from the grinder. After the sound of chainsaws and the grinder it is as quiet as death when they break for lunch. The majority of the work on our lot is done, they've sent the 90' boom crane away and they are working next door at Lorna's sister's place with a cherrypicker. They'll be back to finish us up in a week or two.

The crew boss, Cory Peterson, is a second generation treeman. Mostly he does the choreography for the 4 or 5 man crew. His name may be on the truck doors, but he still has sawdust in his hair and the sun-bronzed bull shoulders and arms of a man who spent a lot of time wrestling a chainsaw. During lulls in the chaos he let my 5 year old motor-centric nephew sit in the trucks and took him for a ride around the circle on a bucket front tractor. He's one kid's hero.

Nellie from the east side of the circle stopped over and asked Cory to look a a small tree he needed dealt with. I walked over with them to look it over. While they discussed a snag top tree near the power lines, I was admiring Nelson's enormous Sycamore. I was familiar with the tree because it is a prize for junior high science leave collections. I asked Nellie if he knew how many Sycamores there were in the county, in the state. Behind him Cory smiled and raised one finger. (Platanus occidentalis- northern limit of range s/b mid Iowa) Nellie said he knew because he was going to have it removed because it was a "dirty tree", and Cory wouldn't cut it down. Cory said the Sycamores were planted by the Passenger Pigeons and when that tree goes down the Passenger Pigeons are truly gone. He has spent his life trimming and cutting down broken trees and it breaks his heart when someone wants a healthy hardwood tree removed because it is messy or in an inconvenient location. I like that. He's fallen in love. In love, like old hunters who admire their prey so much that they can no longer kill them.

Mike Nelson's sycamore. I just walked over and shot the picture. Estimated diameter at chest height about four feet. A fine tree.

4 comments:

Justine Valinotti said...

What would Thelonious Monk have done with a chainsaw?

Margadant said...

Clone that treeman!

Debb said...

My husband has also never met a tree he didn't like. That is why in our relatively small city lot we have 20 some trees, about half being "volunteers".

Debb

Gunnar Berg said...

Debb,
We all know that Laurie is a saint. Truly.