March 12, 2009

You the man!

If you click on the picture to enlarge it and look closely, there is a guy hanging off the tree cutting off limbs. I have eliminated this position from my job search.

I think you need to be a little crazy to be a tree topper. In order to cut down these large trees like this one in our neighborhood, these guys shimmy up the trunk with shoe spikes and a band around the trunk. Oh, and they have a running chainsaw hanging off their belt.

As he climbs the trunk of the tree, he lops off the branches with the chainsaw and drops them down to another guy who loads them into the truck or chipper. He keeps climbing up the tree lopping off branches until he gets near the top where the trunk starts swaying back and forth under his weight. Once he can't go any higher, he starts cutting slices of the trunk above him and works his way back down.

So for me,

- heights bad,
- dangling chainsaw worse,
- fear of cutting through the strap that holds you to the tree - constant.

A few years ago when I was building decks, I stopped by a job site in Renton to check on things. It was pouring down rain and I was checking on the tarps over a waterproof deck we were working on, hoping the wind hadn't destroyed the tent we had built. Down the street, there was a pair of guys cutting down a tree in the same manner described above. It was the first time I had seen it, and I watched in amazement as the guy worked his way up the tree, in the pouring rain and with the tree swaying back and forth in the wind.

The guy on the ground kept shouting "You the man!" up to his buddy. "Yes he is" I thought, thankful that I was standing in the wind and rain with both feet on terra firma.

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