The Old Maple

 I started to brush hog the back pasture about two weeks ago and noticed the big, old maple that I had rescued from my uncle’s chain saw a few years ago had finally died. It was not the healthiest thing at the time, but I loved it’s shape and how it stood above all the other trees around it. Positioned on the East side of the pasture, the silhouette of it’s canopy was beautiful and majestic against an early morning sky.

 After eight to ten passes by the old tree with the brush hog, satisfied that I let the old tree finish out it’s life on it’s own, it was now time to harvest the firewood. As I rode back and forth past the tree I studied it on each pass trying to decide how best to deal with it. Part of it’s allure for me in the past, is now a potential lethal hazard. The once beautiful, bifurcated canopy could easily become a “widow maker”. To further complicate matters, an old stone wall was built around the base making good footing difficult if a hasty retreat should be necessary in the felling process. Unwittingly, I must have assigned the felling task to my automatic success mechanism because I spent a great deal of time over the next two weeks thinking about this conundrum. I even think I dreamt about it one night. 

This Saturday, as I was heading over to finish brush hogging the pasture, I was also eager to study that big maple and finalize my plan of action. As I approached the field I immediately started looking for the tree. I don’t see it… Must not be in view yet… No, it should be right there…. About this time I notice a swath cut in the lower lying tree line… The big old tree had fallen in the wind last weekend. Problem solved!

 

As a child I spent a great deal of time on my father’s heels. So much so, that at my father’s funeral, nearly 13 years ago, I introduced my younger brother (by 14 months), Eric, to a long time friend of my father and the conversation went something like this: Me: “This is my brother, Eric. Friend: “You’ve got a brother? Well, that’s news to me!” (Yup, we’ve had him for 34 years.) No matter where my father was going, I wanted to go with him…the shop, the firehouse, the wood lot, wherever. He was always doing something interesting. I am sure, at times, he got sick of having me in tow. At any rate, I am what I am today, largely because of my father!

 

 After my father’s death, every once in a while something would happen around the shop that would make me think that he was here helping me. For example, one winter I lost a lynch pin out in the snow. That spring when I thought of it, it was as if someone was tapping me on the shoulder and saying look down….sure enough there it was! Dad was helping. That brings me back to the tree. I can’t help but think that Dad took the tree down for me! To help me out and keep me safe! Whether that kind of stuff does or does not occur is truly unknown, but it is fun for me to see what adventure he will join me on next! “What are you going to do now, Dad?”

 

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