I could smell its age more than I could ever see it. My eyes may deceive me, but the feel and scent reveal the seeming timeless eternity of ages past.
My senses didn’t always reveal this to me. The blindness of youth so often were dampening rags, deafening what is so clear to me now. The language spoken to me wasn't that of aging death, but the chronicles of mature knowledge, passed down from countless eras prior. It was life.
Even now, I blink away hot tears as I recall days when I wielded my axe with no thought as to the flesh it was biting into. Not the flesh and blood of men, but the flesh of nature and earth, wood and dirt. Kneeling down, I feel my old joints creak as I come closer to the earth. I grasp a handful of moist dirt and hear its song as it fills the crevices in my hand.
The song is never emotional. No rage in its essence, no fear or loss. No tears, not even happiness. Simply powerful wisdom, deeply rooted in only the strongest of soils, having weathered the countless ages and storms, both from nature and man itself. Though I as a frail human can only feel awe and beauty at its greatness. I ascribed these feelings to what I behold, as a small thimble standing before the grandeur and vast expanse of the universe.
There is life here. Even as I feel my blood, sinew and veins that make up my body, I feel the same life in the earth. We are old friends, bonding as one. As I let go of the earth and stand up, my bones don't creak. My joints are stronger, my muscles taut. As old friends often do, my life is renewed in its company.
Death is never final. Our existence ceases, but our death merely provides life for the next cycle. Someday, the life the earth gives me will no longer be enough for this husk of a man. But today is not that day.
Though by trade, I fell trees for the convenience of men, the trees do not weep. Even though as a young man, who wielded his axe with little care or reverence, they bare no ill will against me. As an old man, I hear the trees guide me to which of their brothers to cut down. Never out of maliciousness. They guide me where to plant new trees near the corpses of the old ones, to continue the endless cycle of life.
I glance down as the glint of the hardened steel on my axe catches the sun. The tree before me beckons to me, not as the bringer of death, but as the servant of life. And as with each stroke and blow, my human senses smell the wood chips in the air, my mind is filled with the deep knowledge of an old friend.
This is my calling. This is the Lumberjack's Wisdom.
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