I do not enjoy exercising. I have never been a person who gets any sort of rush from running on a treadmill, climbing up infina-stairs, or pumping iron (or any other element for that matter). This is not my excuse, but I have always found it funny that when we “work” out we are not really doing anything. Nothing actually gets accomplished, no houses built, no statues erected, not even the weights themselves properly re stacked on the G-darn racks when people are finished. The only thing that gets “done” is our bodies exhaustion, which of course is the point of exercise. This past spring break I had the opportunity to exercise my body by pulling down, chopping up and hauling away a ready to fall tree in my backyard. I jumped at the chance to give my lethargic body a chance to get a workout and accomplish something at the same time. But the mistake I always make when preparing and looking forward to any physical excursion is underestimating how difficult it will actually be.
The skinny pine tree was about thirteen feet tall. It started leaning towards the house after my Father chopped up some of the roots on one side to clear away room for the shed that he was building. Before long the tree would fall on its own so we made the decision to pull it down ourselves. Climbing up the ladder that leaned against the tree I thought that it would collapse under my weight. Each step I took shook the tree as I climbed up to secure the rope to pull it down. The tree itself was stubborn. It refused to uproot even as we pulled and pulled. Unfortunately I forgot to say timber, even though we were not chopping down the tree. The roots still anchored the tree into the freshly churned dirt. I climbed up on top of the tree and jumped up and down, stretching the roots but still the tree remained anchored. My Father and I pushed and pulled the tree around its anchor point. The taught roots twisted, snapped, and popped from their place in the ground, weakening their grip on the collapsed tree. But still the roots held their tree in place.
I went to the garage and returned dragging an ax across the floor like a last ax murderer (yes I really did this just for giggles). My dad held down the tree I chopped away at the last roots clinging to the ground. Dirt flew in my face with each swing, but the tree came loose. We pulled the tree from it’s hole in the ground and started cutting it into smaller pieces. I thought that cutting a tree would be easy work. Each swing brought down the ax with a large thud and the handle trembled and shook in my nervous hands. Again and again and again I swung the ax, cutting deeper and deeper into the tree trunk. I was exhausted and my hands were aching, but I wanted to finish. Finally the ax struck past the hardwood to the soft ground beneath. I stood up, elated that I had cut through a tree (a skinny tree granted, but a tree nonetheless). My mother claimed the bottom section of the tree so she would place candles in the truck for decoration. I claimed the top two pieces and am now working on whittling one down into a wooden practice sword and the other into a spear. I have always wanted a spear.
Tex is a dj with KSSU where he does the dj things.