Sounds of Spring: Woods Team

Posted by Catherine Doheny '17


The loud mechanical whirring of the splitter starting up is a nuisance to some but music to others, it is the tell-tale symphony of spring. The clunk of the log being put on the splitter, the hydraulics powering up, the first crack of wood against the wedge and then comes the complete split and the sputtering of the cylinder. Finally, the dropping of the log in the metal truck bed, which adds a hint of percussion to the melody.

Woods 3.jpg

Photo credit: Mary Gettens '19

We’re singing in newness and celebrating renewal of the forest. “Make way, make way,” the splitter sings, for we are nourishing the new by felling the old. It feels that way for the people too. We get to work off the weary, winter shells and make room for powerful, harvest ready bodies.

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Photo credit: Mary Gettens '19

Splitting season grants its participants strength. You have to lift, toss, and hand split which requires the building of new muscles to make you more compatible with the job. It feels empowering the way the forest shapes you to be like it when you spend enough time with it. To become as sturdy as the oaks you have to know them and realize their power as you struggle to harness it with a splitter.

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Photo credit: Mary Gettens '19

It isn’t just the sound that makes me giddy, the smell of freshly split wood spreads a smile across my face as easily as the first buds of spring open up for the sunshine. My absolute favorite smell is the way split Red Oak permeates the air. Dave says it smells like peaches, but I think it is more like an earthy decay with a hint of citrus.

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Photo credit: Mary Gettens '19

This isn’t methodical destruction, but a true intimacy with the creation and life of the forest. I become more aware of how the wood cries and how lovely the heartwood is, because of this I have an immense gratitude for the trees and their gifts to us.


I like to remember, when the mechanical whirring gets loud and the mosquitoes begin their feasting, that this allows me to be more connected. I feel it in my lungs when the fresh air rejuvenates them and in my legs as they get stronger, that the work that comes with springtime is natural and necessary. The hope that comes with spring is even more enhanced when you get an up close and personal job that allows to have a hand in making springtime even more magical.

Click here to see environmental stewardship in action! 


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