Remembrances of the Blade Road

Viewing over waterfront land for sale in new york state

Every winter in late January, early February there’s a time when the last day’s sun shines a beam through the hardwood forest casting shadows that look like the long thin fingers of the lady of the woods. The sun casts a kind of peachy color where the sky meets the land and the breeze has a slight hint of spring. On these days working in the woods, cutting the trees and hauling logs off the ridges to the road reminds me of a long ago time on the hills of the Blade Road with an old timer named simply, “Woody.” On these days at ten below, I navigate the trail around the big boulder, over the stump and through the frozen swamp as my mind wanders.... The smell of fresh cherry sawdust, of broken young fir trees and the clanging of the chain against metal puts me back 35 years or so. Back to a time where, as a young man, I learned the ways of the woods from the old and wisest woodsmen. Back to the same type of cold, late afternoon coming full tilt down the trail with the tracks of the dozer going clickity-clack and the snow dust a flyin... All the way down the mountain of “The Blade.” I can still see the green wool plaid draped over his broad shoulders, the hat at a slight crook as he stood along the side of the trail and I can feel the frozen hair on my neck as I kept her straight on the grades. The sleigh bunks we used as our hauling rig came from horse drawn days and were made to fit our John Deere dozer. Tow bar and bunks shaped and fitted perfectly and meticulously with gouge and chisel. I can still see Woody’s stubby weathered hands with each shave and notch. How I wish I could double back to that afternoon. How I wish I could hear Ole Woody’s voice calling out the nickname he gave me...“Chee Cuk” (a name I would later learn referred to a hardheaded” by the French Canadian Lumberjacks). It’s a time and place that will stick with me forever. Each year (as I’m now Woody’s age and my days in the woods are numbered), I’ll look back on an afternoon like this one and think of my youth, my ole friend and the mountains and as I round the last bend to the landing there standing will be a broad shouldered young man with frozen curls of hair coming from under his hat and at that moment he will wonder, “Why the hell does he call me Chee Cuk”? Dan Christmas