Someone asked me a while back why I do what I do for a living. They asked me why I didn’t just find a desk job, or at least something a little safer. If they could be here with me right now, seeing what I am seeing, they would understand. My wife understands, to some degree, but she wouldn’t mind if I did get a desk job.
I like the smell of pine in the morning, the smell of dew on the ground and the moss growing everywhere, it’s like nothing else. I tell people that I get to sit in god’s country everyday, that I get to see beauty that is only comparable to my wife. That always goes over well with her.
It is true, I’ll admit, this job is dangerous and I have lost a few friends to injury and worse, but it pays well and there is an inherent danger in just about everything these days. I like to think that if I am going to go, let it at least be in one of two places: Next to my wife and family or out here. Preferably out here, next to my wife and family.
When I said my wife understood to some degree why I do this job and why I love it, I didn’t mean to infer that she liked it. She understands only as far as she knows we need the money and that if I started a new job, it may take years to get back up to the level of pay I am making now. Still, she loves me and doesn’t want to see me get hurt.
The majority of the jobs we work are close to home, in Oregon, but every so often there will be an out of state job. They can be nice; I get to see some new country, make a couple of bucks and the jobs usually pay a bit more. I think my wife tolerates the job because most of the time I am so close to home. I know she doesn’t like it when I leave for a week or two, but she usually doesn’t say anything.
There was a job a while back in Alaska that she didn’t want me to take, because she thought that I might get eaten by a grizzly. But when I told her it was in an area that was not known to have any grizzlies, she calmed down a bit. I think it helped that I would make in three weeks what I usually make in four months too. But she won’t admit that.
This job was different though. She did not want me to take it, even for one week. She said she had a bad feeling about it and though I tried to calm her down and reason with her, she would have none of it. The job was a bit farther than I had traveled away from her, but it was only for four weeks. I tried to tell her that this job would pay enough to support us for six months and that if I worked again in that time we could just put that money away. I said we needed to think about things like that with the baby on the way.
I think that is the reason she didn’t want me to go in the first place. She was about five months pregnant then, or twenty-two weeks or something. Her answer to all my points was the same, “It won’t do us any good if you’re not around.” Though I did agree with her on that, I couldn’t pass up the job.
I talked to her a few days ago. On jobs like these we usually stay in tents or campers right near the job site, that doesn’t allow for many luxuries and it very rarely allows for a cell phone signal. At least once on the weekend we try to get into the nearest town to wash clothes, eat real food and call loved ones. It works out more often than not, but sometimes the weather can be an issue.
Speaking of weather, it sure is nice here. It’s almost like being back in Oregon, but it’s different at the same time. The nights are colder here, but the days are not all filled with rain and clouds. The air is just as clear and the country just as, if not more beautiful than back home. I like it here and if there was steady work to be had; I might like to move here one day.
I say one day, but it will probably never happen. Not unless I suddenly become rich or Maine changes their views on logging. Steady work can be a tough thing to find here, for a logger anyways. If I really wanted to live here, I guess I could always try my hand at being a lobster fisherman.
I am sure that I will live out my years in Oregon with my family, but it might be nice to have some land somewhere else, just for a change of pace and scenery. Maybe someplace warm like Arizona or New Mexico.
This job was only supposed to last four weeks, but we’ve been here for three and a half. Luckily for us, we got the okay to work a new tract of land to the west. We got the news yesterday and I know she won’t be happy about it when I call her this weekend.
The plus side, it’s more money and the job should take us a week at most, if we work seven days. That means I would be home about ten days later than originally planned. Five grand for ten days, I’ll take it.
The down side, I will be home ten days later than originally planned. No biggie, she can handle it. Besides, our parents are close if she needs anything.
Tomorrow is Wednesday and we start on the southern most part of this tract. It looks like good timber from our camp, but it is going to be hard work. The road the mill made doesn’t go anywhere near that section and it’s pretty steep terrain. I am looking forward to it, but at the same time I am not.
A steep remote piece of land usually means humping in your gear and gas, then humping it back out at the end of the day. It also makes it slightly more dangerous because our rigging lines will be strung out farther and the anchor point will be lower. It’s also a risk to the guys, because if someone gets hurt, it will take a while to get them out.
We do what we have to though. I love the sound of the saw and the smell of fresh wood. It’s a great smell, a clean smell and one that I wouldn’t trade for any kind of desk job, ever. I would rather have my dangerous outdoor job with all its sights, sounds and smells than a safe desk job with nothing but a pine scented air freshener and a grey wall to stare at all day.
Man I am tired. I think I am going to pass out now. Tomorrow is going to be another rough day and I need some sleep. I think I can stretch my clothes to Saturday, but if not, oh well; it’s not like anyone will complain. And I’m already going to hear enough complaining this weekend.
Seriously, I’m going to bed now. I don’t know why I still keep these journals anyways, it’s not like anyone will ever read them…
It’s Saturday night and we just got back from town. The phone lines were down and the guy at the Laundromat said the power had been going out all day. I couldn’t call Stacey and no one could get a cell phone signal. I’m a little worried, but only because I know I’m going to catch hell when I finally do talk to her.
The lady at the diner said there was something going on in Ohio, but no one was sure what it was. She said the National Guard had been called in, but the governor and mayor were trying to assure everyone that the situation was under control.
I asked her what she had heard and about what the National Guard was doing. They had apparently set up road blocks just outside of three Ohio cities. I told her that we couldn’t get a signal for our phones and asked if she thought the two were related.
She said, “Honey, anytime you have to call in the National Guard, the situation is already out of control. Ohio is kind of a quirky state anyways. Let’s hope they keep their problems in their own state.”
One of my buddies said,
“It’s a good thing we are way up here then, huh?”