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Observations in Estes Park
Eliza Shockley reminds me that the trees that grow in such odd shapes on Estes Cone are not mere pine trees, but limber pines. Quite right, and still worth seeing, though the way the snow is falling up there you may have to wait until next spring. All of which proves that things often don’t go exactly the way one expects, and I am often less than brilliant. I thought I was really smart the other day when I saw a fisherman at the footbridge in the parking lot just up stream from the Park Theater.
He was casting into the stream and I was just about to tell this tourist he was unlikely to hook anything behind the local pizza palace when he jerked on his line had pulled out a 12-inch trout.
In a twinkling, he slipped that fish into a hole in his jacket, cast again and pulled out another, and still another, though this one was too small and he threw it back. Then I began to take inventory; the waders should have tipped me off. I might also have checked out the compartmented jacket and the hat, festooned with dry flies. It’s one of the rare times I’ve kept my mouth shut and avoided making a complete idiot of myself.
You can also tell a lot about people from their woodpiles. Some people stack the wood neatly and put covers over them. They buy the wood already cut and it’s all the same length. You can tell whether a house is occupied by the woodpile, of course. If it’s been vacant for a while the woodpile will be silver.
You can certainly tell the spendthrifts from the misers; all you have to do is check the size of the pile to tell the grasshoppers from the ants.
Charlie Baker, who lives south of Estes Park, is one of the original provident squirrels. He has been doing construction work around here for more than 60 years, and he says he likes to have a supply of wood on hand. Behind his house he has an unruly pile of wood 16 feet high and 26 feet long and 16 feet wide, all split by hand—by Charlie’s hand.
I had plenty of good intentions this fall, but my pile is only about four feet high and 10 feet long and 12 inches wide—hardly a pile at all. I get discouraged when I when I see pile like Charlie’s. It’s a little like driving past the houses of the rich; it’s obvious I can’t have anything like that, so why worry about it? Besides, there are lots of disadvantages to having too much wood on hand: you have to keep it dry, you have to use the oldest stuff first, and it’s always on the bottom. If you have too much, someone will probably steal it from you. I think I’ll just cut a little at a time, or just forget about wood and turn up the furnace.
After all, you can t tell anything about a person from his woodpile if he doesn’t have one, can you?
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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