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  • Nora Koch

White Male Supremacists

Today I heard the whine of incessant chainsaws. “There goes my nap,” I thought. Then I sat in my chair and looked out the window. There was a large white truck parked in front of our neighbor John’s place and emerging from the top of the truck a long arm at the end of which was a bucket. There were two men in it. They were beginning to take down the ill-fated ash tree in the boulevard. Its not the only one that needs to come down.


Instead of despairing over my nap, I decided to watch. It was like watching ballet.


Two young men traded turns at cutting branches from the tree, systematically handing off the chainsaw as one or the other of them got tired. One of them was responsible for deftly moving the arm holding the bucket so that they were in perfect position to cut the next branch and still be in position to fling it onto the growing pile of branches below. As one cut, the other grabbed the section that was to be detached from the tree in a specific way so that it’s weight, once cut, would not cause the chainsaw to backlash. At the same time the branch would be supported so that it could be easily flung onto the tidy heap on the pavement in front of the truck. They kept the pile to a small, efficient footprint. It was obvious that they both had to be physically strong to maintain the cutting, throwing and coordinated changes without a break. They also needed to be aware of traffic and each other to work together flawlessly.


I watched for about a half hour and then decided I could probably at least rest, even though this was going on not far from the bedroom. I settled in, eyes covered with scarf, cat ensconced in the crook of my arm, and soon the whine slowed and then stopped altogether.

Forty-five minutes later I was astonished to find the truck gone and no trace of a branch left in the street.


Next summer, at our request a large damaged Basswood tree on the edge of our yard is slated to come down. I’ve asked that they wait until “our” squirrels are well out of it in the spring. It is going to be a hard loss for them, and us.


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