Here is a story for the ages. When my colleague/friend described this moment you could almost cut the air in the room. It was so thick with wonder.
As a Canadian west coast production Hand Faller he and his buddies were used to very challenging situations. Some of the areas they worked in, 70% of the trees were already blown down from previous storms creating a “pick up sticks” like landscape, only the “sticks” in this case were massive red cedar, hemlock and douglas fir trees.
Like master chess champions
, Fallers are amazing at planning
their work as they calculate
each step in their day. As he approached his next task it appeared at first evaluation to be a predictable, rotting western hemlock
standing around 100 feet tall and around 5 feet across at the base. There was no redeemable fiber in this old tree and so the only consideration was to fall the tree safely without messing up the master chess game.
As he cut into the tree the plan seemed to be going as predicted. His undercut, (humboldt) cleaned up nicely with the two cuts matching perfectly forming a wedge. My friend was in the zone
. As he shifted to the back of the tree to start the back cut, the second his saw touched the outer bark a very faint voice
that almost sounded audible in his brain told him to stop.
Interestingly, if you have the privilege, like me, to interview Hand Fallers
from a couple nations you will find that though they are often portrayed as wild, reckless, thrill seekers
; the majority, including my friend, are quiet, thoughtful and somehow spiritually tuned to the forest.
The inner voice spoke again, “stop cutting, back away.” And so he stopped, backed away from the base of the tree 15 feet, shut off his saw, placed it on the ground, backed away another 15 feet and quietly waited. Like a hunter who thought there was a movement in the brush he stood in perfect silence.
And then he heard the first pop. Somewhere deep in the guts of the tree, fiber was starting to release under the weight and tension of the standing snag. Then another pop, crack and then… the whole tree started to literally crumble, not unlike the 911 Twin Towers. He watched in awe as the tree crumpled in front of him.
1. What if he had ignored the inner voice and kept cutting?
2. What if production, ego or pride had trumped his inner thoughts?
3. What if that day he was working angry, or distracted and unable or unwilling to listen?
4. Finally, what if he had never developed the gift of listening to his inner voice?
1. Have you developed the gift of listening to your inner voice?
2. Is your inner voice being silenced with anger, depression, anxiety?
3. In our fast paced, distracted world can you still hear over the noise?
4. Do you have your own stories of being tuned in and hearing your voice?
What if we all paused long enough to listen and save a life.
Take care my friends.