Walking Abby yesterday, we happened upon some monkey men--those dudes who climb trees carrying little bitty chainsaws so they can take tall trees down. We watched with our mouths open because if you haven't seen this process you're missing some awe. They strap on gravity-defying spikes attached like stirrups to their boots and legs, carry their chainsaws in one hand and start up a tree by stabbing the leg-spikes into its bark. To the first limb they go, and chain saw it down so they can get to the next limb. It falls like a giant feather/umbrella, then on to the next, chainsaw whining. A more refined approach employs pullies and ropes to lower the branches.
I first saw a monkey man about 35 years ago, when we moved to Georgia. California had been about using cranes--expensive ones--at the time and I'd never seen this before. So I'm driving down Hiway 369--at the time in the middle of nowhere in the spring time, and I see a guy start up a fifty-foot utility pole like a squirrel. There were none of the pole rungs I've noticed in the past. There were no ropes or pullies or cranes in sight--just a guy in a hardhat, shorts, boots, toolbelt with a big "EMC" shirt, running up to heaven. I almost ran off the road before I pulled over to see how he did that.
I'm here to tell you I've been half in love with EMC guys ever since.
It came to pass we had to have a dead tree removed from our property in Cumming. The tree removal guy showed up with pullies clipped to his shorts, wearing boots and no shirt, chainsaw whining as he scampered up to the first limb. I'd always thought it was uniforms on men that captured my attention.
I even found myself eyeballing drum majors from time to time, which are a little over the top in my opinion. But this episode of guy at home in a tree where he could fall and break something important, not to mention the possibility of accidentally sawing a couple of fingers off is absolutely fascinating.
It's one of those items, like cliff diving, like hang gliding, like cusp skiing, like rodeo riding that means more in person than on TV.