The Arborist Story – Take 8 – The Cut

Vroom, vroom, buzz, buzz, the chain saw is fired up. ‘I’m cutting a tree down today! I can feel it in my bones. My neighbor is in position, and all we have to do is make one cut. One cut is all it takes and then timber!’

Maybe you are joining me for the first time if you are, welcome! We are on the last leg of a seven-part series on tree trimming and how the Lord protected me despite my foolish decision to cut down a 100′ oak tree myself.

Stick around.

Let me ask you a question, though – Have you ever attempted to cut a 6-foot wide tree stump with a little chain saw? It doesn’t exactly happen in a few minutes. As you cut, the weight of the tree above the cut begins to move. I didn’t know this could happen because I had never cut down a 50′ high by 6′ wide stump before. The lumberjack cartoons I saw as a child made it look easy -one cut and timber!

Let’s do this!

My neighbor instructed me on how to cut the trunk, and I proceeded to get to work. My moment of glory had finally arrived. “Cut it at an angle a certain way, and the tree will fall in the direction you intend,” he said.

“Got it?”

“Yep! Let’s do this!”

In theory, that’s how it’s supposed to work. In my reality, it didn’t work that way.

As I cut into the trunk with the chainsaw, the tree rotated ever so slightly, and the weight of the top half trapped the chainsaw, and I could not move the chain saw. Now the chainsaw is stuck in the trunk between the top and bottom trunk.

‘Now what, Einstein?’

“Not a problem,” says the neighbor. “You have cut enough of the trunk that when I tug on the rope, the tree should fall.”

I replied, “Ok, but what about the chainsaw? What do you want me to do when the tree starts to fall?”

“Hold the chain saw handle, and when the tree starts to fall, pull the chainsaw out,” he replied.

“Sounds easy to me, let’s do it,” I replied with anxious excitement.

After all, what did I know? I’m thinking Paul Bunyan cartoons here. What can go wrong? Uh, a lot.

So here I am, standing at the tree, hands firmly holding the chainsaw, waiting for my neighbor to pull it down in his direction.

My back is to the house. My neighbor is to the left with the rope, positioned where we want the tree to fall. Remember, the tree falls parallel to the fence line – left, not right, not back, not forward.

“Go left, young man, go left.” Sorry, I got off on a rabbit trail. We’re all good.

Everyone is set and ready to go. We planned each step. Who needs professionals?

And so, with a little anxiety and a lot of excitement, “One, two, three – PULL!” I yelled.

He began to pull, and it was like something in a slow-motion movie. The tree began to rotate again ever so slightly and HEADED RIGHT TOWARD ME!!! “AWWWWWWW!”

He starts yelling, “RUN, RUN, RUN!!!”

I didn’t need anyone telling me to run.

Forget the chainsaw; I needed to save my life.

I started running toward the house to get away from this 50-foot tree stump felling in my backyard, chasing me the whole way, headed right for me!

Forget yelling TIMBER! There were other words I used that I cannot share today. Forgive me, Lord, for I have sinned.

And like slow motion, the tree fell toward my house, missing my house AND me by 15 feet. I missed the big THUD sound because all I could hear at the time was yelling and screaming to get out of the way.

I looked over to my neighbor, and there he stood, rope in hand as if he was on vacation. The stump intended to fall in his direction, fell in my direction instead – not right, not back, NOT LEFT, but in MY direction toward the house and landed smack dab in the middle of my newly built pool pad.

You have got to be kidding me!

The whole point of taking this tree trunk down was to prevent it from messing up my pool. Now, I had this 50-foot tree stump, six-foot in diameter, smack dab in the middle of my new pool pad.

Oh, the agony, oh the pain. How will I explain this to my boyfriend?

This should have been on America’s Funniest Videos and won 10,000 dollars. The money would have been well spent on tree removal at this point. Oh, wait, what tree?

Want some good news? The chainsaw came out and was just fine. I found it lying on the ground next to the fallen stump.

Proverbs 14:1, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” I almost tore mine down with my foolish idea.

Let’s pray.

Lord, I came close that day to my life coming to an end by a fallen tree. I can only imagine what the firemen would have thought had they been called to come back out to my house. I am so thankful, Lord. You were watching out for me again that day, and at the time, I didn’t realize just how much. Thanks, Lord, I love you, I surely do, and not just because you saved me from my foolish Paula Bunyan lumberjack moves. In your Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

In His Service,


The Arborist Story – Take 3

Bridge to Grace – a nonfiction novel




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