It’s not a question if you’re afraid of a chainsaw, the real question being are you afraid enough? Saturday morning one of my oldest friends asked me to help her cut up a couple of trees that had fallen, and one of them was a giant limb from a Tung Oil tree. Tung Oil was what they put in paints to create a more beautiful finish on wood before the whole world turned into one massive petroleum product market. There are still relics of groves of these trees, and I’ve always thought they were beautiful. But to be perfectly honest, I think all trees are beautiful.
It’s a nightmarish situation, for someone trying to use a chainsaw. The limb is bent and grew twisted, with one sub-branch curving up and away from the main trunk of the limb. Worse, infinitely worse, the whole area is thick with vines, old vines, new vines, wild grape vines, wisteria vines, skinny vines, and one as thick as my wrist just out of reach. It is wrapped into the crown of the branch and we have no idea which way the pressure lies.
We start cutting small pieces off the ends. It will reduce weight and therefore release pressure. The big limb had fallen on a small tree, and we cut until the tree can come back upright, but it doesn’t.
Hmmm, there was no pressure there at all. That’s cool. We cut the big vine with a pole saw. It falls without consequence. Gosh, this turned out to be easier than we thought. We trim a branch here and there, and there doesn’t seem to be any hidden points of pressure anywhere else.
It’s hot, very hot, and there’s a never-ending cloud of gnats. There are yellow flies, the aggressive and evil type, that land and bite, testing a person’s reflexes. We finally talk about taking the sub-branch out, to see what will happen. We make the cut, but the branch is suspended in midair because of the vines.
At this point, with that branch removed from the main branch, the worries are over; there’s nothing left to fear.
Yet it’s never a question if you are lucky enough to be good, the real question is this one, and if you cut with a chainsaw, ask yourself this: Are you good enough to be lucky? I’m trying to pull the smaller limb down from the vines, and everything is going well. My friend is cutting the vines with the pole saw. I reposition. I move closer to the end of the branch and put a smaller tree in between the branch and myself. There really is no reason to do this, because the pressure is off, but I like the idea of being…
The branch separates from the butt end falls six inches, and the whole damn thing rolls faster than I can type it. The end where we had just cut the sub-branch hits the tree I’m behind and both of us stop and stare.
“How the &^% did that happen?” We both say this at the same time.
We still don’t know. We both thought it was on the ground. It looked like it was. If I had stayed where I was, this would have been a much more interesting story.