I will freely admit to anyone that I have chainsaw anxiety. It's not a made up, drama queen, kind of attention seeking behavior, but true, honest, anxiety. I grew up around chainsaws - it was how wood was cut and that wood was used to heat my Grampa's garage and my Dad's home. The adults in my life who used them were safety conscious and had respect for the machine, and they taught me the same.
I must have been about 7 or 8 years old when my Grampa had a chainsaw accident. He hit a knot, there was kick back and he was cut from his neck down the middle of his chest. The way the story was told, he grabbed his handkerchief, covered up the cut, walked into the house and told my Gramma that he had an accident. He waited on the front porch for the ambulance and walked down the front path to meet it. He recovered in record time - missed the jugular by about a 1/4 of an inch.
As an adult, I've had anxiety whenever I've been around chainsaws. I knew that I would have to deal with it sooner or later when we bought this tree rich property. I trust my husband implicitly, and feel I have done very well being around him chainsawing the hundreds of trees we've taken down. I've had to stand very close a few times, and kept things in check. I have my escape route planned out well ahead of time and use it even if it's not necessary. Better to be safe than sorry, right?
So, today, we had to take down a 13 inch in diameter, 50 foot tall (45 year old) sand pine. Mark turns to me and asks me if I want to do it. Um...okay. I think. I don't know what the heck I'm doing, but I observe a lot and knew this tree was a textbook felling and one that would be easily manageable for me. At least that's what I told myself.
Mark cut the wedge out of the front of the tree and then turned the saw over to me. We talked about how to hold the chainsaw, how I should stand, how to use the throttle/gas, and how to move it through the tree. We went over my escape route and what to do when I heard the tree start to move.
I had a little trouble moving the saw through the tree, but Mark helped me and I heard the crack! I pulled the saw out, took a few steps back and watched it fall. My heart was literally beating out of my chest and I felt like I couldn't stop smiling. It was the purest of adrenaline rushes, but it was also so much more than that for me.
I faced a real fear, head on.//tr
In 2014 a couple of 40-somethings decided to make a change. The purchase of 10 raw, pine scrub acres along Florida's Nature Coast started it all. This is that story.