Thursday, June 5, 2008

Random Thoughts and Experiences From Planting

One thing I like about being up north during the summer is the long days. I am not really sure what time the sun rises but it is still somewhat light at ten in the evening. Another thing is that everybody drives big trucks up here. That's not what I like, it's just that as a result the parking stalls here are all huge which makes for super easy parking.

My first season planting I hated the work. I went back for season two and despised the job. During season three I abhorred it. Season four I loathed it. I kept coming back though. I am in the midst of season five, and I don't mind it so much. People accused me of being a "lifer" back when I abhorred it. Is there any escape for me now?

Typically after the loggers cut down and remove all the trees the mill will gather up the bigger branches and unusable logs into big piles of slash. These are placed at regular intervals along the road. The cut block is planted and in the winter the piles of slash are burned. The next season planters go in and plant the burns where the slash was previously piled. Because it is only the burns being planted, boxes of trees need to be left along the road periodically for when the planter runs out of trees.

Planting burn piles was my task last week but the interesting thing was that it was a helicopter block so I was given a radio to radio in when I needed trees. The helicopter would then fly down and drop some off. The other thing is that I only carried about a litre of water so when I ran out of water I would radio in and the helicopter would fly down so I could refill my bottle. I won't lie, you get a feeling of power ordering water by helicopter, especially with the knowledge that it costs $150 every six minutes of flying time. I think that flying in a helicopter might be the best perk about tree planting.

I read Timeline by Michael Crighton the other day. While planting the worst land of the season I was thinking about time travel. I came up with a hypothetical situation. Imagine that Frank and Joe build a time machine. They want to test it but nothing too drastic so Joe is sent back in time only five minutes. Upon arrival the time machine breaks. Joe is stuck five minutes in the past. Because Joe is always five minutes behind, Frank will never again communicate with him. However, Joe can freely interact with Frank's previous self. So although Frank never actually is in the present with Joe, he will always get new memories of Joe. However, what if Frank and Joe planned on this eventuality. Let's say that Joe takes the time machine at 6:00pm. He goes back in time to 5:55pm. He agrees to meet Frank at Starbucks at 7:00pm. Therefore Frank waits an hour after sending Joe back and goes to Starbucks. Joe arrives in the past and waits an hour and five minutes and then goes to Starbucks. Suddenly they are in the same place at the same time. I'm not sure where my reasoning goes astray. It is just so difficult to conceptualize the aspect of time.

My boss was looking for more planters because we are running a little behind. I have planted with a lot of people but I couldn't think of a single person that hasn't retired from planting. Most have real jobs now. I feel old again. There is one other planter in the camp who has planted more seasons than me, one other who has planted the same. However, because I took two years off my first season was two years before his. My first trees are seven years old this year. The trees that I planted yesterday were big enough that they looked seven years old. Time is ripping by. My beard is the best in camp. This means that despite how I feel, I am a grown up. I hope that one day my life will look a little more grown up. Life is going too quickly.

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