I pulled out the chain saw yesterday morning. My intended victim an overgrown shrub between the dug well and the corner of the kitchen. My father and I had allowed this bush to exceed it's accepted height by many many feet. Growing unchecked for over 30 years, it grew to a point where windows were blocked. Snow was blocked from sliding off the roof. The top had grown high enough to be snapped off by a westerly wind coming over the house. It was huge. I was determined to remove it from my landscape.
When it was planted, it obviously had started with three main trunks from which the rest of the bush developed. Years of twisting in the wind had created a three trunk braid. The 6 inch trunks wrapped and intertwined with each other as each sought the Sun in their own way. I only realized the signifigance of this after I had limbed enough to actually get a good look at it. The total girth of the three trunks was over 15 inches. But it was the twisted nature that made me pause. How to approach it?
Cutting all three at once seemed foolish. My memory of a good friend killed by a tree he cut down loomed large in my mind. It seems that some trees decide to go down fighting. This shrub turned tree had that punk look that told me this was such a tree. Once the trunks were laid bare, I could tell it would make it a real scrap to get it down clean without damage to the house or myself. I had to think it through.
So I limbed some more. Taking more branches first made sense. The problem was getting at the ones over the roof. Snow and the roof's steep pitch made them hard to get at. Once I had removed enough limbs to feel secure in taking on the main trunks, I anquished for a few minutes and then just picked one.
I should have anquished longer I guess. As soon as the first trunk let go, it twisted before it started to fall, then jumped down, hit the side of the other two trunks, kicked out and the butt caught me square under the chin. As I toppled over backward with a chain saw still whining in one hand, I backstepped to try to regain my balance. Like stepping on a banana peel, I performed what could only be described as the perfect prat fall. The engaged and running saw chain in my hand landed not 6 inches from my right leg. Whew!
I laid in the snow and sawdust. I looked up at the sky and then over to the idling saw. Then a sort of movement caught my eye. Turning my head, I was sure I saw the neighboring Red Maple chuckling. Damn trees!