One tree, two tree, three tree… one thousand seven hundred twenty-five trees. Tree planting is really unlike any job you may ever have. It is dirty, unattractive, back-breaking work. It is work that can push you to your limits but at the end of the day it is satisfying to sit in the truck with aching joints, bruised shins and sun burnt arms. I wake up everyday before six am and clock ten hours of work per day. I don’t know a day out there when I didn’t try my best or push my hardest given my physical state of being. Everyday I planted right up to the end of the day, always pushing to get in the last bundles.
It doesn’t really sound fun, and when people share their stories it often ceases to do the job justice. It seems that when stories are shared they are more often than not about the strenuous repetitive work, the slippery logs piles that reach above you head, the nasty bugs that never leave your side, the blisters and calluses, spending hours or days in an open cut block by yourself, or waking up with the “claw” or shovel hand. There is often few stories about the people you meet, the lesson it teaches you about yourself, new knowledge about our planet, the stories it gives you to share, or the fact that it takes you away from the reality of our lives. Although is can be unforgiving work, there are aspects that I have grown increasingly fond of.
I enjoy planting trees; I enjoy working hard and having it pay off, I enjoy being outside (although when it’s pissing rain while you are driving up the washed away dirt road, I may beg to differ). I like the break that you get from life and media; the fact that the only thing you have to worry about on a day-to-day basis is how many trees you put in the ground and not about what you look like that day. I also found that over time I began to appreciate the time I was given to spend alone in the wilderness. To understand the work this job requires or the mental effects it has on you, is to live and experience it. Trekking along with 400 trees on the sides of you hips and bending over every 15 seconds is certainly not for everybody. It requires self-discipline, – for some it is the money that keeps them going – strength, and maturity.