|Photos courtesy of Troy Nuttall|
Yesterday, I finished a few last minute pruning jobs. As I did so, I thought of some of the tree trimmers I've worked with in the past. Each of those climbers have their own style and rhythm.
Ryan roots himself to the ground so that no matter how high up he is, it looks like he is strolling through a spring day. Kevin hot dogs around the trees on his ropes, swinging from branch to branch like Tarzan. If he still doesn't have his adrenaline rush he takes his glasses off and lowers himself out of the tree upside down, like a spider. Max takes a calm, long term approach. I've seen him ride a tree to the ground after the roots gave out and walk away with nothing more than a calm smile.
Me? I'm not in the same athletic class as my friends, so my style depends a great deal on how my limbs connect with the tree's. Foot work is vital to me. Often times my feet point in opposite directions. They balance on bumps that don't exist and get wedged into angles that must be too tight for a guy wearing a wide shoe.
My arms are not left out. They move intricately around and through branches to hold myself in the tree, but still let me get a clean cut. My wife compares it to dancing, though I can't quite see the comparison. Each step is a tentative shifting affair, relying on an individual branch to tell me if it can handle what I am asking it to do.
There is a distinct rhythm as well. Not one that can be defined as something so simple as a three-quarter time or a standard category like a waltz. No, the rhythms I move to are deeply connected to the trees and to the earth itself. Deep, long, intricate rhythms.
Yes, I dance with the trees.