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Turning Trees into Toothpicks

Stories

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Turning Trees into Toothpicks

Lori Narlock

It smelled like Christmas. Sawdust floated through the air like snow flurries. The speed and agility of the lumberjacks manifested the same sort of awe as the image of Santa coming down the chimney with a sack full of presents.

It was Memorial Day weekend and we had hired professional lumberjacks to remove the dead madrone behind the cabin and a fir tree between the cabin and the creek.

The men scurried up the trees armed with ropes and chainsaws. Against the laws of gravity they hung in the air. They trimmed away the branches and then the tops. They cut the trees into rings, dropping each piece as they went.

A third guy removed the branches and rings from the foot of each tree. He yelled, “in the hole,” each time he entered the space beneath the trees. “In the hole,” the guy in the tree would repeat.

In less than two hours two large trees were dropped, the sky had turned blue and we had our work cut out for us: splitting and chipping.