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Daily Journal
     January 30, 2020      #62-30 KDJ
 

Gary Moore: Iâm a lumberjack and Iâm okay â¦Â 

By Gary Moore

There are many things I enjoy in life. I’m a drummer and love to play music. I’m a fan of Drum Corps International and love keeping up with The Cavaliers, the corps I marched with in my teens. I love writing; and I love splitting firewood. Surprised? Like the titles says, I’m a lumberjack; and I’m OK.

Monty Python fans will immediately recognize the title of this column as also the title of one of Monty Python’s most famous and enduring bits. At the time, it was very politically incorrect. Today, it seems quite in line with current sentiments. Go to YouTube and search, “Monty Python Lumberjack song” and you will see what I mean. Regardless, I am not that kind of lumberjack.

There is something about going out into the woods and cutting lumber. We don’t cut down trees but find fallen trees and chainsaw them into 16-inch sections then, split them into firewood. I cannot describe the enjoyment. We always split a few by hand, but quickly turn to a motorized splitter.

My friend, Jeff, a local restaurateur and former collegiate athlete, is the strongest guy I know. He hooked me on splitting wood. When he picks up an ax, the wood trembles in fear and often splits itself. Me? The wood giggles behind my back and mocks me when I pick up my ax.

2019 was a tough year for me. I have pushed through a few serious and quite unexpected health problems and am facing a couple of surgeries. One of them is this week on Monday. Jeff called my wife yesterday and asked her if he could come by Sunday and cut wood. He says he needs wood, but I know it is his way of helping me keep my mind off the surgery the following day. I’m grateful for his hidden act of kindness. Jeff knows I love being in the woods. It clears my head.

So, I put on my boots and red plaid shirt, pick up my ax and walk out of the garage. There is something that feels so manly about it. The only thing that rivals the feeling is picking up a baseball bat and walking to the plate. They are both incredible feelings. The truth is, I was not a good hitter and probably a worse lumberjack, but that’s OK. I enjoy it anyway.

Last winter, I decided to split some wood. I put on my lumberjack clothes, picked up the ax (in this case called a rail-splitter) and walked out the door. Suddenly, two women began screaming. They were lost and turned into my driveway. I live out on 40 acres. When I walked out of the garage with an ax, they thought I was coming for them. Once I calmed them down, they told me they were from the city and had never seen a man with a real ax before and asked if they could take my picture. My testosterone began to flow. They both got out of the car and took turns posing with me. They then asked if they could film me splitting a log. Proudly, I set up the log, pulled my ax over my head … and with a mighty swing … I missed the log completely and drove my ax into the dirt. Once again, I heard the muffled giggles of the log and now my visitors joined in. Oh, well, it was all fun and games until I missed the log. I, unfortunately, revealed myself as only a lumberjack wannabe.

So … as for my surgeries, no problem. The human body has 5 feet of colon. I won’t miss the 3 feet they are removing. Maybe the missing parts will readjust my center of gravity and make me better with both my bat and my ax … or maybe not. All I know is after the colon, I have one more final surgery then, I can pick up my ax and improve my aim. It’s my goal to never miss the log again.

Some guys enjoy golf, and they don’t understand why I don’t. To each his own. All I know for sure is, if there is ever a contest between a man in plaid knickers holding a putter and a man in a plaid shirt holding an ax, I’m betting on the man with the ax every time.

I guess that splitting wood for me is not about doing but about being. I can buy a load of wood and save myself the trouble. It’s not about doing the work but about being in the nature and being with a friend. I’ll go into this surgery with the heart and attitude of a rail splitter, even if I don’t have the aim.

I’m a lumberjack; and I’m OK.

Gary W. Moore is a freelance columnist, speaker and author of three books including the award-winning, critically acclaimed, “Playing with the Enemy.” Follow him on Twitter @GaryWMoore721 and at garywmoore.com

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Gary W Moore