Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kim the climber

“Will you guys please cut out the racket? I can’t even think in here!” I would have yelled out the window but no one could hear me. So much for serenity. There are tree guys outside in the park across from my house, trimming trees and grinding up the branches in one of those scary grinder things. 

Actually it’s a bonus to be living directly across from the park—about 99.987 percent of the time. Other than the current noise and the time there was a body found in the park, it’s a lovely place to be. I never saw the body and the police officer told me they suspected the person had been murdered elsewhere and the body was dumped in the park, less than a block from my house. Had the massive wood grinder been there at the time of the murder, I suppose the murderer would have found a great way to dispose of the body. Yes, I’m trying to find a way to kill my appetite.

I watched one of the tree guys this morning, high up in a tree, adjusting ropes, and cutting large branches with the chain saw he had attached to his waist. Whatever he earns doing this job, he deserves every cent. Lord, have mercy, would I ever climb like that, dangling from a tree limb while using a chain saw? I know from experience that he is called a climber in the tree world and that climbers are treated with reverence and awe by the guys who rake up the branches, drive the trucks, and load the wood into the chipper.

When we bought our old house, we needed a lot of tree work on our long-neglected lot. We hired a crew that—much to our amazement—was led by a woman named Kim. Kim was strong as an ox but less than five feet tall. She was the boss and the burly country guys who worked for her paid attention when Kim barked orders at them. The guys were rough around the edges, tattooed, had few teeth among them, and they smoked unfiltered cigarettes. But, I swear, they wouldn’t look Kim in the eye. She was the pitbull runt of the litter who sent the mangy mutts running for their lives. And Kim was the climber. She climbed the big trees with speed and agility, throwing the ropes around, and using the chain saw like it was a carving knife. You know the question about people you would choose to be in a foxhole with you? I’d choose Kim.

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