Anyone who has to deal with Mother Nature gets to see the good and the bad. She can hand you many dangerous situations. But on the other hand, she creates most beautiful scenes. Every once in a while, if you pay attention, even a bit of comedy. I look at this as sort of a thank you for putting up with her fits of bad weather. This almost makes it worth working in the deep snow and the cold biting wind. This event took place sometime in the ‘80s. I was working for D.C. Morton cutting in the Lincoln Pond area. The woods boss had finished making the winter road and the cutters were moving into that area. Now to make a winter road, the boss starts dragging the road as soon as the freeze starts. There are holes that needed to be filled and rocks needing covering. Once the ground is frozen and the snows begin, he drags the road almost every day. Eventually the road is safe enough for hauling out the wood. The crews are then moved in to begin harvesting the forest. We had plenty of snow and the yards were made for the stems. Our first job was to clean up all of the blow downs. This is one of the least productive parts of cutting in the woods. Mother Nature does not fall all the trees in a nice consistent pattern. It is almost as though someone just dropped a bunch of pick up sticks with roots still attached. When cutting a stem from the root structure you had to be very careful. There was no predicting just what would happen while separating the two. Some of the root structures would not move but others would pinch the saw or fall back. You could only tell where the trees were by the raised lines in the snow or the roots pointing to the sky. My section to cut was next to my brother’s piece. It was a nice day, but production was going slow. This was normal while cleaning up blow downs. But, today, I was in for a bit of a surprise and laughter. As I was cutting one section of blow downs, out jumped a black bear. He almost ran over me in his haste to get away. This tends to raise your attention level quite a bit. The only thought of the bear was to get away. I am sure he was not happy because I just ruined his winters nap. The bear turned away from me and ran in the direction of where my brother was cutting. Being a caring brother I am at times, normally I would alert my brother. He was in the process of cutting a tree and I knew he would not hear me. So, I just silently watched as the bear ran right toward him. Of course, the bear just wanted to get away from me. As the bear got closer to my brother, he just happened to turn the chainsaw off. He had not noticed the bear as of yet. I paused a moment and pondered, should I holler or not holler. I needed a good chuckle and was deciding which would be the most comical to watch. I knew the bear was running away from me and was not a danger to my brother. Ok, so after a pause I decided to holler and see what happened. When my brother turned toward me all he saw was a black bear running right towards him. I admit I did chuckle a bit when I saw the look on his face. My brother very quickly let go of the saw and ran for the skidder. At the same time my brother moved, the bear saw him and turned away. My brother also noticed I was watching and in full laughter mode. After a moment or two, I settled down and decided to check out the bear’s den. That just might have been a mother bear and she left her cubs. I crawled under the tree and found only an empty den. All was good until I went out for coffee with my brother. He was less than happy with my antics. Of course, I just blamed it on the bear and him for making too much noise. This is just one of many things Mother Nature presents us to keep us alert. Of course, the rest of that week I was chuckling about the event. I was also paying attention in case a mother bear was sleeping under one of the trees. That would definitely be a different story. I sure am glad I don’t have to wade in the waist deep snow anymore.

Ken W COB ex-wood cutter

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