Sunday, March 05, 2006

In which I fell a tree

In which I fell a tree

I cut down a tree yesterday. With an axe, even. No chainsaws. The chainsaw was out of commission. So I cut the tree down with an axe. Got a good edge on it. Got some good rope, to make sure the tree fell the right way. Took the axe to it.

It was a cedar. So it's not like I'm felling an oak or a gnarled up hickory with my hands. Cedars a softer wood.

But it was a nice, hardy, fifty-foot tree. The folks wanted its trunk. Who knows what for. Probably to use as totem, to spite the forest.

So, the chainsaw was out of commission, but I felt manly. I could have waited for the chainsaw. But more than anything, I wanted to see if I could do it.

People used to do this all the time. Entire forests have been felled by men with axes across this country, continent, and across the world.

Abraham Lincoln used to do it. He was a badass, Lincoln was. You'd have to be a badass to wear a beard with no moustache.

Now, I can't claim that I come anywhere close to the Great Emancipator's levels of badassednous (or is it badassery, or perhaps badassitude?). But the tree did come down, thanks to me and my trusty axe. Chopped it down.

I was pleased to find that I could do it. Without hurting myself, anybody else, or having the sumbitch fall on an electrical powerline.

Lincoln didn't have to worry about electrical powerlines. I tend to think that puts an extra mark, in my personal Book of Badass.

On the flip side, I'll say that nothing takes away from your badassitude like having to explain to the Electric Company just why you and all your neighbors are out of power.

Saying "I wanted to prove my badassitude by killing this tree" just doesn't cut it.

There are repercussions. I neglected to think to wear gloves, so I managed to raise a couple of world class blisters. And today, my side feels like, I've been swinging a heavy axe like baseball bat, over and over again.

See, I'm used to splitting logs for a firestove, swinging the axe in an overhead motion, where the weight of the axe does the bulk of the work. Swinging side to side, that's a horse of a different color. So, swinging the axe like I did yesterday, and in a manner as inexperienced as I was, using muscles that I've used all of twice in the 21st century (usually when I'm reaching behind me to grab the toilet paper off the back of the toilet), has left me creaking and grunting like an oldster every time I get up out of a chair.

Now, I'm not hurting as bad as when Larry and Balki went to the exercise club.

But then, I'm at least as much a badass as Larry Appleton.

Not Balki. Balki Bartokomous was The Badass.

But Larry would fold like a paper towel before he could fell a tree, that lipless freak.


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