I am serious when I say the whirr of a chainsaw is soothing. I have thought as much since I was three, when my mom silk screened STIHL (a chainsaw manufacturer) on a tee shirt for me, and dyed it pink. Cause just like my newly spray-painted trucks, pink marked it as "girl". My dad didn't have any boys, just a tomboy girl, his little shadow and little mini self. At that young age, he was not just my dad but my best friend and idol, so I wore my STIHL shirt with pride, a little girl, her dad, and his chainsaw.
My dad suffers from sociophobia, so holding a regular job has never been practical. He loves to be outdoors, one with nature, so when I was an infant, he became a freelance forest entrepreneur. Yep. He cut down dying trees and sold firewood along the highway. He made a small seasonal income, babysat me, and taught me all about the dozens of tree species in the forest.
From what I piece together from vague memories, photos, and stories is that my mom worked full time and he was a stay-at-home dad at the time. He'd rope me into the front seat of our jeep truck (don't fret folks, this pre-dated seatbelt and child seat laws) and we'd drive along dusty forestry trails for what seemed like hours. We would find our "spot" and I'd be gently set onto an old blanket atop the pine needle strewn earth with our dog by my side, as my dad went off, within seeing distance, and chopped down trees, shorn off stumps, dragged already downed dead limbs towards the truck. I would sit quietly and pet the dog while watching my dad, the birds, the clouds in the sky. I was always and still am a quiet, introspective, nature loving girl and I am sure these experiences helped shape me. The whirr of the chainsaw, the scent of pine sap, and the gentle rays of mountain sun filled me with a quiet joy.
Being a man of nature and a Native American culture nut, my dad felt it was wrong to take down trees, even dead ones, for they housed little creatures and created loamy soil for the wildflowers. To show his respect, and to give back what he took, he might place a raven's feather at the tree site, or scatter a handful of wildflower seed on the fresh earth.
A sprinkling of feverfew in bloom by the creek, a cedar with his and my initials carved into the trunk, a rock we climbed for a view of the ponderosa pines below...every corner of the forest reminds me of my childhood and of my dad, the nature man.