Justin Ricklefs


Climbing Trees + Chopping Wood

“Looks like you’re working too,” he joked from way above.

A rope holding him between a bunch of branches on a dead tree.

“Yeah, but at least I’m on the ground,” I said as I scooped more mulch. “You have way more courage than me, bro.”

“Nah, just been doing it for 40 years,” he said as nonchalantly as our kids say they want to go to Chick-fil-A.

When he rolled up, without a lift of any sort, I was curious how we was going to attack his work.

Perhaps he was just gonna cut it at the base and let it fall where it may.

And then, he strapped these spur type things over his boots, got on the back side, and started free-climbing the tree.

Each step, an intentional kick into the bark, as he scaled it.

“Umm, whoa, that’s amazing,” our son said. Without saying it, I know he questioned his old man’s manhood.

Branch by branch, he worked his way through that dead tree.

Within 90 minutes, the whole thing was down, the small twigs discarded, and the core cut into enough firepit wood for the rest of 2021.

“What a cool job,” I replied to our son.

Climbing trees, and cutting wood.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? The vision to keep finding new perspectives. And the discipline to keep doing the work.

Day after day, 40 years at a time.

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