I managed to get in an hour and a half worth of clean up on the tree before the rain set in. It’s so weird it being so warm right now. For two full weeks below freezing temperatures settled into an area that sees that sort of thing, well, never. Mostly what I’m doing now is getting the small branches and smaller limbs out of the way. This is stuff I cannot use for firewood at all, and it won’t make a great bonfire either. This is the tangled mass of still green branches with leaves on them, and they’re impossible to load on a truck because they’re so springy. I’ve got another load or so to go, and then I have to get it all down to the firepit, and then, after all that, I’ve got fourteen or fifteen really large pieces of Oak to split.
It’s a lot like a burial detail in that I recognize some of these limbs. This crooked one was on the South side of the tree, and had a sort of dip in it. This one was from the massive limb on the east side of the tree that was still living and green. This one was the dead limb that hung up in the other tree, and it’s dead, dead, and powdery. I could have named the limbs, like the many branches of a family that has married into other families. There’s a reason they call it a family tree, you know.
Reflexively, I look up every time I step off the porch, to see if that one dead limb is still hanging over my head. The sky is open and empty now, and after looking at the top part of the tree I know I did the right thing. It was dead, rotten, even too far gone for firewood. My fear was well founded, and my judgment sound. There was a streak of dead on the north side of the tree that stretched down, like a cancer, deep into the truck. The stump reveals rottenness and decay at the heart of the Oak. I sound a lot like a man trying to justify himself to himself, don’t I?
There is clarity in exhaustion. Being tired and being focused on manual labor has a tendency to weed out the extraneous thoughts. I feel like a vulture here, not in the sense most people view vultures, but as a part of the chain of life, where death of one serves another in some way. I cannot eat the tree, of course, but it will give me exercise, and firewood, and these thoughts. This isn’t at all something that is a simple byproduct of work, but it is also an essence of the tree itself. How could this not be true? I’m waist deep in the arms of the tree, sorting out the stuff I can warm myself with, chopping the smaller stuff to be able to move it, and all the while I see in the tree as part of my life.
I tend to be, or I was until recently, a bit of a Luddite when it came to the supernatural. Now, I am beginning to blur the edges more, and accepting there is more here than what I can define with what I have. The world no longer is divided into this world and some other that may or may not exist, but rather a place in time where I’m staying for a while, and trying to figure out why. Bonnie is no longer either a manifestation of my madness, or a supernatural creature, but simply an event, or a person, who doesn’t require definition, but perhaps understanding. If I do understand who or what she is, that’s fine, but if I don’t that’s okay too now. I’m not nearly as afraid of Bonnie as I was even a month ago, and I’m okay with that too.
I keep seeing things out of the corner of my eye. It started yesterday morning and it’s sticking with me when I work on the tree, and when I write. It’s like a fourth dog sitting in right edge of my vision. I have no idea what it means, or what it might be, but I really don’t care right now. It is what it is. It’s there for a reason, or maybe it isn’t. Maybe reason isn’t the reason. Maybe reason fails us sometimes because the world isn’t as we have made ourselves believe it is. Maybe in exhaustion, when my brain becomes too tired to fight the forces around it, I can more clearly see, or think, than when I’m able to immediately start labeling and defining and dissecting. When I’m unable to think quickly about something it has a tendency to sit there and dissolve rather than getting devoured.
I’m not sure if this is making any sense at all, and maybe it isn’t supposed to right now. It’s only ten in the morning and I’ve worked myself into a state of near catatonia. I’m sore in a dozen different ways, I’m sad about the tree, and I’ve got a lot of work to do. But in some really strange way, I feel more alive right now than I have in a while, and I cannot explain that either. It’s like something has happened and it’s going to be alright, and for some reason, I feel a deep sense of peace right now I haven’t felt in a very long time.
It’s okay now.