On April 8, 2020

There is always more chainsawing

By Merisa Sherman

I have a nook in my house where there’s a chair there, just out of the morning sun, where I can see the tree tops. They descend in a steepish yet skiable pitch down toward the valley on the right, kind of like Highline. There’s a second bit of dull greenish-brown peeking out from behind the first mountain, but only if you turn your head just so and take your eyes away from your work. There’s a couple of bright green evergreens sticking out in the front like polka dots. Every once in a while a few birds might fly overhead, squawking the whole way as they venture from the stream below to the neighbor’s pond beyond us. Perhaps it’s a morning where I can hear the gaggle of turkeys walking about, picking at the lawn with glee or perhaps a few are hanging out in the branches of this one random tree. I know the smaller birds were all over the lawn this morning having a dazzling breakfast; I heard their high pitched chirps while still lying in bed.

And then the chainsawing starts. Off in the distance, you can hear the first chainsaw of the morning. It’s a throaty humming noise, but the chops are quick and you know that another fallen tree is getting bucked up into manageable pieces for the next step of its journey. There’s a rhythm to the sawing, an overwhelmingly silencing energy that comes up your arms, takes over your chest and reaches through the ground to your toes. It’s a smooth, graceful power, a steady pace as the blade seems to glide through the tree in a hopefully effortless movement. A pile of sawdust is gathering, its bright cream color a stark contrast to the leafy and muddy spring mountain beneath.

Maybe there are large sections of bark flying everywhere as the pieces get thrown away from the cut and bounce into the haphazard pile. Hopefully, the tree is uphill from the pile and you can watch with anticipation to see where your thrown log has rolled. Sometimes, it spins too much in the air and comes down like a spear, stuck straight up in the mud with no chance of rolling. Other times, it changes direction and picks up speed, making huge bounces and landing in the middle of the road below — exactly where you wanted it. Your hands go up in a whoop! You’re super pumped as you wipe your gloves on your Carhartts and reach behind for the next log, lost in the rhythm of the huck.

But it’s still early and I’m sitting here, on my couch, enjoying my book and listening to the sound of my neighbor’s chainsaw echoing through the valley. That is, until the BF pokes his head into the library, says a quick good morning and with a big smile tells me to hurry up and get my overalls on while he sharpens his chain. My head slumps down with a laugh as I mark my book. My whole body groans as I slide off the couch — I can barely move my arms as it is. A huge pine tree fell a couple nights ago during the storm and took out a couple of birch trees, so we’ve been climbing up the hill by our house and chainsawing almost every day for the past week and we’re still nowhere near done. I just keep imagining the size of the upcoming bonfire ….

If there is one thing I have learned so far during #StayAtHome, it’s to never say out loud that I am bored — because this is Vermont. And there is ALWAYS chainsawing that could be done.

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