When my parents built their cabin, they positioned it in such a way to preserve as many aspen trees on the lot as possible. They envisioned dappled shade, dancing leaves, and the sound of wind shushing through the quakies. In a good breeze, the quaking leaves of aspen trees sound like a spring shower.
We love the feeling of being nestled in those trees up on the mountain.
One of the trees nearest to the house, a giant with high-reaching branches, hasn't been faring well the past few years. Its trunk is slowly dying, and it's been leaning precariously in the direction of the cabin. It still had some life left in it, but with the crazy windstorms they sometimes have on the mountain, my parents decided it wasn't worth the risk to keep it.
My dad recruited Jay to help take it down. My dad climbed a ladder and tied a strap toward the top of the tree. He may not look all that far off the ground, but when you consider that Jay is 6'5", it adds a bit of perspective--he was about 30 feet up there.
They chained the other end of the strap to a pine tree across the driveway and winched it tight so the dying aspen would fall away from the cabin.
At around this point, some of my parents' neighbors who also have land on the mountain happened to be driving by, and they stopped and lent a hand.
All of us wives watched from a safe distance in slightly worried and amused interest as Gil wielded the chainsaw and Jay, Kim, Randon, and my dad pulled on the straps and chains to guide the tree down in the right direction.
It landed with the crunch and snap of living wood as the weaker branches crumpled under the weight of the trunk.
The whole thing went off without a hitch, and after 30 minutes of chainsawing and moving sections of trunk and branches, the area was clear. Only a fresh stump and a few twigs with fluttering leaves scattered across the driveway bore witness to the noisy afternoon's events.
I'm grateful for the capable men in my life who know how to work with their hands. And I'm glad to be the one taking the pictures.