Yesterday was an intense day. It started out about as well as a Saturday can… And only got better. We have a 50′ Ash tree in our front yard that died two years ago at the hands of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle. Yesterday was the day to take it down, just me and a few friends.
Fortunately, two of the fellows who helped have extensive lumber jacking skills. We took down a 50′ tree that wound through power lines and that stood 25 feet from my house – without damaging anything.
I now have enough firewood for two winters (maybe 3), though I’m going to have to split quite a bit of it. Now, I’ve always split my own firewood by hand – an ax and a maul, no wedges or power tools and while ash is hard (that’s what they make baseball bats with), it does split quite well. I have a neighbor with a gas-powered splitter but have only used it once – on the wood that was too knotted to split by hand. Everything else that I’ve burned over the last seven years was split by hand. The way I saw it, if it was anything, it was a good workout.
The point to this post is relatively deep and manly man specific. I’m not much of a manly man. I do hunt and can process a deer on my own, I can build stuff and fix things on my vehicle if need be, but for the most part, I’m management. I hire someone else to do it… It just is what it is.
So midway through our little ten-hour project yesterday I had the strangest thing happen: I felt an attraction to my wife that I haven’t experienced in that intensity in quite some time – it was strange and amazing at the same time. I used to be quite active in such manly activities but have given up such things since I’ve gotten to a point where I can generally afford to pay to have such things done for me and would rather spend time cycling. Cutting down and logging that tree yesterday opened my eyes to something I’d missed about hard, manly work – it’s like Viagra for the soul, without the side effects and if you happen to perform manly tasks for more than four hours you won’t have to visit the emergency room. It’s like Fight Club minus the getting punched in the face part.
To celebrate (and to cut up the rest of what’s left), I bought my own chainsaw yesterday… So now I’ll be able to get my fix of manly activity on a more consistent basis. I’ve got a lot to get through over the next two weeks before the snow flies too.
One of the nice things about getting older is that I now pay attention to so much that I used to take for granted… I’ve been quite content over the last year and a half to simply ride my bike and cut the grass. While these things can be considered manly, they’re not the heavy lifting of cutting down a tree. Also, and this is important, had I not taken that time off I don’t think I’d have been able to see what I’d been missing out on. All of a sudden I can see a slew of different tasks around the house that need my manly attention… In fact, I think it’s time for a little change in how I do things. Next year, around October 1st, it’ll be time to put the bike up for the winter again and concentrate on doing other manly things. Cycling really took a lot of time away from other things I could have done. Next year, October can be for hunting, then in November I can start hitting the heavy lifting about the house.
Today will be another insanely busy Sunday… I’m meeting Pete and Aaron at the trail for an 8am run. After that, it’s back out to the wood pile for a late morning and early afternoon of cutting up that tree, then bowling at 6. Oh my. Enjoy yours.