At the most recent Coot-Together, the twice-a-month gathering of The Over the Hill Gang at a local bar and grill, five of us were telling our best tree-felling stories. You know how those yarns work: we try to claim bragging rights in the honorable (to guys) achievement of “I’ve come closer to killing myself than you have” status while engaged in the North Country chore of cutting firewood.
The stories were as varied as they were revealing. We Coots will resort to all sorts of ingenious schemes to invite several tons of oak or elm to come crashing down upon us in a woodland tangle where this no escape path and slim chance of survival if we are struck. It’s not that we get an adrenaline rush from these near-death experiences (well, okay, maybe there is an element of that), but the main driver is our stubborn determination to carry out our well-conceived but ultimately flawed plan for outwitting a tree and it’s malevolent ally, the force of gravity. Every now and then things go wrong, and a mundane chore transmutes into an adventure tale.
Many of these tales end with dismissive anticlimaxes: “I had to replace the bar and chain, but otherwise the saw was fine, and my shoulder healed up in a month or two.”