The chainsaws of springtime

Posted 04.15.13

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | With the air finally warming and the days nice and long, we're clearly in spring. And spring means one thing: chainsaws.

I admit that I live in a neighbourhood that still has trees, so customs may differ in other neighbourhoods. Yes, once the air has warmed, every guy has to get out his chainsaw to "do some cleaning up."

If only they would clean up -- there's plenty to be raked or shovelled up -- but, no, it's now or never for those damn lilacs in the corner, the Manitoba maple out of control, the one too--many spruce -- and I even know of several home-owners who each had a single big tree in their yards. They cut them down.

"It coulda blowed over in a storm," one gentleman explained. That was a big white oak, and nowhere near anything it coulda hit, except some smaller trees which were, anyway, trampled by the two tree-cutters.

I can't be too hard on this spring ritual because I've been guilty myself, for many years. There's an exhilarating sense of accomplishment to cut through a fallen tree, the blocks of wood falling away before your eyes -- immediate accomplishment, is the feeling. However, that feeling didn't always last. Usually after a blazing half-hour with the saw, I'd turn around and realize all that I had just laid waste. Oh my God.

You should stick to fishing, my wife would say each spring.

But the wood was always welcome in the furnace, after it had been split -- another exhilarating impatience--chaser-- after it was stacked, dried, moved, stacked again. It is great exercise. Moved again to the basement, stacked. Restacked after the first fall-over. This process used up three pairs of work gloves.

Despite the warmth, and the exercise, this spring ritual is terribly primitive, at the bottom of it all. "We want it," caveman-like, so we grab it, kill it, hack it up, and in this case burn it for our own warmth. We're so important, you understand. How evolved is it of us that we haven't come up with better alternatives?

Better alternatives for creating who we are. Apparently, the famous "Butterfly Effect" is real -- we had never been able to see it in action and so had dismissed it. But computer projections running into eons of time, show the Butterfly Effect to be very real, given enough time: ever action we engage in can, and often does, create a huge reaction somewhere within the web of living things in which we live.

How wise is it to be cutting and hacking at all that's around us? Especially in spring -- we might be tempting the goddesses of procreation and new life. It's their season. There are calves in the fields along my drive in to work, a few lambs, llamas, red-wing blackbirds. This is spring.

So leave the trees standing. They increase real estate value, for crying out loud.


Copyright © 2013 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/04.13