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Donna Flood
Cross Cut

Cross Cut SawThe sun was so bright it caught the tiny crystals of the snow refracting and reflecting diamond looking light from them. There were sparkling colors of clear blue and even red in tiny prisms to interest the eye of a child. The excitement and love for the world around them was being taught in gentle ways to the children by their parents who were descendants from the Native American. Their Scottish blood too brought from those mixes of Celts and other tribes came through as clearly, maybe reaching back to another time when nature was set into their genes as well.

There was a difference in their life style. They knew this without being told. Most of the children they knew from their school life were not given the experiences their parents brought to them, and maybe these were a little put off by what they may have considered to be primitive. The time was not pioneer days after all. This was a time of fast developing technology, new chemical discoveries, in an environment set to the development of oil in every aspect of the word. Although, jet fuel was unheard of at the time, it was certainly having a foundation built for its introduction.

Their parents were in agreement if not vocally preaching to them of the love for these surrounding natural phenomena, but surely, in the expressions of simple pleasure seen in these activities others might call simple. Homes in 1949 in Oklahoma were all heated with the readily available natural gas. It was clean, plentiful and practical. However, they in accordance with their parent's wishes were heating their farm house with wood. There was no law saying they had to live here in the country. It would have been easier by far to have moved to the center of the populated area into a small town where every amenity was available including this natural gas, indoor plumbing and paved streets. It was a choice their self educated father had made. Here they became a quick and learned observer of the physical world he loved.

Now the cross cut saw ripped quickly through the log wedged on its place between two crosses built and set into the ground. The v's of the support held the log steady and it was at the proper height to lift it to a place where they did not have to sit on their knees in order to work with the saw. The handles of the saw were long enough so they, even as children, could hold them with both hands as the saw tore back and forth through the log. Of course, their father was the guiding hand to actually do most of the work. They only were convinced in their own mind that they were his equal partner, pulling their weight with the work. The only thing they had to remember was to pull on the saw rather than push. When they forgot and tried to push, the saw would buckle, catching and slowing, sometimes stopping completely, the back and forth action. Their father in his extremely patient demeanor never changed an expression or admonished them for the negative action. He simply stopped, reset the saw and they continued.

The bits of wood to fly out from where the log was being sawn were a bright golden light ochre in color and looked like an amber Carmel syrup with nuts to top off a white ice cream as they fell to the snow. The smoothness of the white substance was now introduced to a rougher element. The snow was cold and impervious to the light weight material which rested on top of its surface.

The pleasure of the heat to come from the wood was to be enjoyed later. At the moment the greatest experiences were these simple studies of texture, surface area, weight, gravity, control through tools, and on and on went the lessons. If their city companions were a bit squeamish as to their life style, the children had no time to wonder about their feelings. Years later when the suggestions of poverty were brought about, still the richness of the children's gifts from their parents shored them up as mature folks who had imaginary steel rods driven through them anchoring their psychic to the ground beneath their feet and to the physical world always beautifully around them. Even in the midst of the city a moment to observe some natural phenomena was a gift to them, remembered from some distant youthful experience.

"Slow your blade," their father cautioned them as they came to the base of the log they were sawing. "Move your feet back." "You don't want a mashed toe!" He warned as, sure enough, the heavy piece broke off and rolled to the ground. There was a moment's pleasure as the task of one stove sized piece was theirs. The instant was there and gone for now the blade was being picked up with their father's strong hands and moved to the proper place to begin another cut.

The sharp edges of the saw were like hungry teeth, indeed, as they quickly set into the new cut.

The same chore would be repeated over and over until the logs were finished and ready to go to the second phase when their father used a heavy maul with an axe edge on one side to split the short logs into smaller pieces, more easily picked up by the children to carry to their place to be stacked neatly, ready for use.

These boys became grown men of the family and years later made great contributions to the state in the way of water sheds, building strong dams for conservation of water, setting bridges over no one knows how many great roadways. Sometimes, these shining remarkable, many laned, roads ran themselves immediately through heavy wooded areas cutting strips through areas these city folks would skim over and across in sleek automobiles. Their father lived to see his son's accomplishments and his humble manner never changed even as he enjoyed the achievements they made. After all when one understands the working of physical phenomena how can there be a surprise.

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