Away With the Dead Wood 2


I suppose everyone has their own version of dead wood.   Stuff accumulates, it’s probably part of the law of Inertia.

Not too consequential if you’re just clearing out a junky closet.  But when the inertia has descended onto several acres over 40 years, it gives one pause.

Hilltop over the Dordogne River, Before

Hilltop over the Dordogne River, Before

The hilltop across the valley has been an eyesore for longer than we care to remember. The real shame of it is that the grove of acacia trees – so valuable for their hard wood, intoxicating perfume, and bee-attracting flowers – has been devastated by the fatal appetites of mistletoe and thorn bushes.

clearing begins by hand, February 2015

clearing begins by hand, February 2015

John and the boys cleared what they could over the past year, but the huge skeletons of dead trees are the stuff of nightmares – of falling trees killing the man wielding the hatchet.   Time to call in a pro.

the lumberjack begins

the lumberjack begins

The lumberjack flitted between trees like a grasshopper, chainsaws light as feathers, ladder perched at vertiginous angles. Every motion was calculated.  A wedge of 2 centimeters at the base of a trunk at first incision would create a tilt of 20 meters at the top of the tree.  Snip here, snip there, buzz and another buzz, step back to reflect, final snip… he could have been a tailor working a custom suit.

tree choppers

 

clearing view from west

clearing view from west

Neighbors told us they heard the vibrations of the falling trees carry through the earth. They might have mourned, but we all agreed it was right and just for the dead to give way to the new.

clearing view to Gensac

view of the church spire, village of Gensac  Before

view of the church spire and village of Gensac

view of the church spire, village of Gensac  After

Now there is a view from the hilltop all the way to the church spire of Gensac. Earth is exposed to sunshine.  Barrels of seeds to sow wildflowers and green plants to re-fertilize the soil are on their way.

a new life for walnut and cherry trees

a new life for walnut and cherry trees

If reality begins by imagination, then I see Wordworth’s spirit coming over that hilltop next spring, beholding a host of young sprouts, golden and green.

Hilltop After

Hilltop After

 


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2 thoughts on “Away With the Dead Wood

  • Thomas Lawrence Long

    I’m also taking the deeper lesson here, viz. it’s never too late to clear away metaphysical or existential deadwood as well. By the way, a while back I ordered a case of Chateau la Tourbeille Bordeaux Superieur 2011 from a local spirits merchant and have been enjoying its dark, complex flavors with friends and on my own!