shirtless menI love to walk, and because I never drive when I can stroll, I walk for at least an hour a day. Happily, this lets me indulge in one of my other hobbies— ogling arborists.

I first acquired an appreciation of tree guys over a decade ago, when my neighbors began warning me that the ailing birch in my backyard needed to be cut down before it decided to come down itself. On my roof.  So I phoned around and hired a tree service.

When I looked out the window of my home office the next morning, my backyard was full of muscular dudes!  Striding about, calling to each other, zipping up lines into my tree, then wielding chain saws as branches came crashing down.

In a word: Yum!

Sure, I was losing a tree. And my wallet was taking a hit. But the silver lining? For a couple of hours my backyard was full of very attractive men. Fueling, of course, a favorite fantasy of single women everywhere—cute guys growing on trees!

With the song “It’s Raining Men” playing in my head, I abandoned any idea of getting work done. I sat at the window and enjoyed the view. Ever since my first crush, on Superman, I’ve had a soft spot for strong-looking dudes with a can-do attitude. Of course, most of these guys were considerably younger than I was. Plus, a writer who lives with her nose in a book and a hunk who works up a tree? I’m not sure that’s a match made in heaven. But I could look and enjoy. I even made up a little poem on the spot:

I think that I shall never see

A poem as lovely as

A buff-looking dude working in a tree.

Since that day, I’ve always paused on my walks to savor the spectacle of a tree coming down. Walking the dog in my tree-filled suburban neighborhood has given me countless opportunities to stop and gawk. And to chat, because over the years, I‘ve found that tree guys are easy to talk to.

“I always wanted this job,” one recently confided after I fell into conversation with him during his lunch break. “I used to watch guys doing this as a kid and all I wanted was to be up there with them.”

“And you still enjoy it?”

He smiled. “Oh yeah.”

Apparently, a certain kind of little boy starts climbing trees as a kid and never wants to come down.

“It’s both an art and a science,” another explained to me. “And each project is different. I plan to be doing this for a long time.”

Thankfully, he’ll be able to. Because luckily (for both of us) taking care of trees is one job you can’t digitize or send overseas.

This morning I stopped to watch a dude in his forties zipping up the trunk of a mammoth tree with the help of a rope-and pulley system. Seeing me, he called down with a grin:  “Another day at the office!”

I’m sure there are bad days. I’m sure when it’s pouring rain or icy cold outside, they all wish they were inside, toiling in a warm, dry cubicle somewhere.

Actually, I’m pretty sure they don’t. And I’m glad.


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