My eyes scope the hillside as my feet push my body up the trail. The soles of my feet tired of the treck, my boots wet from the stream crossing one mile back. It’s getting colder the higher I climb. The wind is blowing a little harder, whistling through the trees. My backpack seems to get heavier too, the axe inside wanting out to do it’s job of falling the specific tree I’m after. You see, I noticed the little beauty a year earlier on a hunting trip, a trip in which I regretfully came back empty handed from. I didn’t come back with nothing though. I have the memory of that beautiful tree. My mind had found the perfect design for this tree, guaranteeing to include the burl that was growing from it’s side. Not much further and the real work would begin. I reached the tree to find something horrible had happened. It was a victim of mother natures violence. It stood there blackened by a lightning strike. I kneeled down next to it just to stare and think. Sitting there I realized that maybe, just maybe this was a blessing. It occurred to me that the beauty was actually enhanced. A new design filtered into my head. Yes, I could use this to my advantage. After all being an artist means to make exceptions, changes, even discarding the whole idea at times. I chose to accept mother natures change. Easily I could have looked around the forest for another tree. But this was the one I had waited for for so long. I unzipped my backpack and pulled out my axe. I took the first swing and the cut was clean. I swung again, then again, and once more. I pulled some of the material off the V shaped cut I was making. The wood was in excellent condition. I continued to swing, almost relentlessly. Out of breath I sat to rest. It was stronger then I. Tired from the walk I knew I had to keep going at it. It would be a long walk back to the truck dragging this beauty behind. I sipped some water and stood up. In a bizarre fashion I touched the tree as if I were touching gloves. “You ready?” I asked as though we were in a MMA competition. It wasn’t much longer before the tree started to give way. I put some pressure on the back and pushed. I stepped back and watched it drop. It was over. The tree lay there like a victim. I kneeled once more, put my hand on it and bowed. Silently I payed my respects with a few words. “Your journey doesn’t end here my friend. You were nature’s art, now you will be my art. You will always be beautiful I promise.” There was no way I could get this tree out the same day. I’d have to come back. Before leaving I spent a good hour delimbing it, then called it a day.
The next day I brought a friend. I wanted to battle the tree the old fashioned way to bring her down. But now I didn’t have time to play games and wear myself out. My friend ol’ husky was anxious. I had just sharpened his teeth the night before. I pulled the cord and he awoke. Almost angrily he screemed and smoked. The tree was no match. Within a short time I had cut it down to managable lengths. I had also brought a carriage I made so I could wheel it down to the truck. I’m not going to lie. Next time I will build a better carriage. This one made it difficult, it’s balance was weak and I struggled to keep it upright. But still it was easier then the alternative, whatever that may have been. I loaded it up into the truck with a hoist I had welded to the bed. This made it easier to get the bigger sections in. It was mine. I sat on the tailgate and popped open a coke. In the silence I ate lunch and just stared down the road. A smirk fell upon my face. A smirk of victory. I finished lunch and hopped into the truck, started the engine, and was on my way.
The next stop…..the shop.
-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~