Forest work: week 4

Forest work: always a time of year that I look forward to. Lazy muscles get used once again and it is nice to replace a day behind a computer screen with a world full of sturdy tree trunks, crooked branches and slender whiplike twigs. The air feels clearer and colder and it is always a challenge to wear enough clothes to keep warm without ending up sweating. These are the days in January when the trees are felled for the next load of edible wood logs.  In two or three days, young tree fellers cut down somewhere between forty and fifty young oak trees a day. As part of this forest thinning lesser quality trees are selected leaving the best trees  behind to grow into formidable adults. These often smaller and crooked oak trees have just the right diameter for edible logs, not too thin and mostly not too thick. The logs get cut into one meter pieces and it is my task to carry them out of the forest. I pick up the log and roll it onto my shoulder. Heavy logs are especially quite comfortable to carry this way but because I can’t look down the brambles are constantly tripping me up. The logs are brought to the side of the road and placed next to each other – five logs side by side. The next row is at 90 degrees of the row underneath and the stack steadily grows until it reaches the height of my shoulder. After a day of trudging slowly through the forest, logs on my shoulder, numerous stacks by the road, head cleared of rust, the realization dawns that this is a way of life to be treasured so long as it can.

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