Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer - 2008

Ear rocks - are you kidding me?

Synthestesia - no way.

Softball/baseball gene - not possible.

What do these three things have in common. Well, they are all discoveries that I made during the past month and one half. More about them later.

I have restricted this blog to travels in the past, and will revert back to that theme in a bit, but the past six weeks have been so marvelous that I feel the need to get the memories down in electrons before the spirit passes. So I'm going to treat our grandson Zachary's visit as "travels" with us. Besides, travels are journeys, and life is a journey.

June 21 - 25, 2008

On June 20th, our son-in-law Mike drove to Richmond for the annual American Woodworker's Association symposium. It was a three day event held at the Richmond Convention Center, about 20 minutes by car from our home in Studley. As president of the Cape Cod chapter, he was excited by the opportunity to attend, and more excited when his offer to be a videographer was accepted (waiving the $300 fee). He brought Zachary with him.

This is the fourth year that Zach has spent some part of his summer vacation alone with us in Virginia. Now 13 years old, he has grown at least a couple of feet since we last saw him in September 2007. At first he seems a little uncomfortable with some of the changes his body is experiencing. To test out his blossoming manhood, his first proposed activity was to cut down with an ax (versus not so macho chainsaw) one of the many dead trees on our land. As usual my response was yes, have a ball. I did however, painstakingly explain to him that the project included not just the chopping (fun), but also the chipping of the branches (perceived fun) and stacking of the cut trunk (not fun).

The morning was bright and hot (90 degrees), the oak was old and dying, the kid was primed with a newly sharpened ax, and the two adults watched with awe as swing after swing trembled the mighty tree. At some point we all realized he was actually going to be able to fell the monster, so Mike and I called a halt to the production to have Zach rig a line that would ensure the tree fell into a clearing (important to me since I had to be involved with cutting it up).

It's one thing to envision cutting down a tree (like in the cartoons) and quite another to be pulling on a rope to get the tree to snap and fall where you want it to, which happened to be exactly where he was standing. We watched Zach yank, and pull, and chop, and tighten the rope, over and over again. Finally, with the tree leaning in the right direction, and just a quarter inch or so of trunk left, he gave it a few final chops, heard the crack as the grain finally gave way, dropped the ax and ran for his life, as a smile of fear and satisfaction spread across his face.

Headline: 5'4" man-boy brings down 40' tree with ax.

True to his word (after a well deserved round of applause) we trimmed and chipped the branches (perceived as fun, chipping is WORK, and oak rattles every bone in your body, wearing you out in the process). As the huge pile of branches was turned into a surprisingly small pile of chips I sensed flagging interest in the idea of cutting the trunk into logs and stacking them in the noonday sun. An hour later, the deed was done, a determination present this year that I doubt would have been a year earlier. This time it was only a smile of satisfaction that crossed his face.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Love your travel site and all the pics. I am so impressed with you as grandparents, taking your girl with you,to Wow! Paris. I thinks this may top Paris, right in your back yard. I wonder how many Grandfathers give their son's this kind of opportunity, to work and feel accomplished. Thank you for your excellent example of Family. Good on you for being so generous with your time. (round of applause for your family) So Cool!