We get what we give

Published 8:00 am Saturday, February 26, 2022

At some time in our lives we have all experienced an “aha” moment, when a reality or truth pops into our consciousness that has been ‘out there’ all the time, but we simply have not seen it.  And, once that happens, we’ll never forget that moment and the insight illuminated by it. Here’s the definition of ‘epiphany’ or an “aha” moment:

(1) a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something. (2) an intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking. (3) an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure.

One such moment happened to me recently that brought light and validation to something that I had always believed, but did not have actual proof that this belief is a reality. The belief is that “what goes around comes around”, on the back of  “as you give, you will receive”.  

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A couple of weeks ago I had that epiphany moment standing in a field watching my husband and son load freshly sawn slabs of a beautiful cherry tree that had blown down in a hurricane last year. The fallen tree was in the middle of the woods with no road access to it, so it was not easy to get it out. It was not accessible for a track hoe or skidder, equipment that would usually be used for that type of work. 

But the sawyer lived nearby and he was able to pull it out using his tractor and a grapple. Had the sawyer not had that grapple, he could not have gotten the tree. 

Now, here’s the back story. Allen and I met the sawyer (I’m going to call him Jack, although that is not his real name) way back in the early 1980’s when we first moved here and were trying to make a home out of an old, long abandoned and vandalized house in the woods. With help from Jack and his uncle, we cut trees in the overgrown pasture and used the sawn boards to build our woodshed and repair the barn. At that time, the sawmill was just outside of Saluda.

During that same time period, we were going back and forth to see Allen’s “Cousin” John in Washington, GA, both because our young sons absolutely loved Cousin John and his wife Christine, but also because John was a welder and was modifying our John Deere tractor to have a wide wheel span in the front so that it would be safe on our steep slopes. Cousin John was also an inventor of sorts. He designed a hitch to enable a grapple to attach to a farm tractor. That enabled him to harvest trees in very hard to reach places on his small farm. The grapple attaches to the back of a small farm tractor and is used to pick up logs up to 12 feet long, one at a time, to haul them out of the woods. We explained this to Jack, and he realized it would be very handy in our mountainous terrain, so he contracted with Cousin John to make a grapple for him. Jack and his uncle brought the grapple up to Saluda, and it has been here, in use, for about 40 years. Sure, it has needed some repairs during those 40 years, but it is still working and doing a job that no other equipment could do.

Jack’s uncle sold out of the business years ago and Jack moved the sawmill to Holbert Cove, where he lives.  Allen and I own an old cabin in Holbert Cove near the old sawmill. That’s where the big old cherry tree fell down.  The thought of letting that beautiful wood rot (there’s plenty of other fallen trees around to feed the birds and worms) bugged me until I finally asked Jack if he might be able to snake in through the fallen debris and get most of the tree trunk out to be sawn. That’s what he did.  Jack is old now and does not do much sawing anymore, but he agreed to help us… because he could. While watching Allen and son John load the lumber, and then asking Jack about how he managed to get the logs out of the woods, it all dawned on me.

Had it not been for a friendship and helping relationship from long ago, from Jack and his uncle coming to our aid when we needed it most, and Cousin John, and us helping Jack and his uncle get a piece of equipment that was not available anywhere around here, and always being honest and helping each other whenever the need arose (even though our lives are very different in many ways), that cherry tree would be on the ground rotting right now. When I asked Jack about how he got the tree out of the woods, he said that he used the grapple – could not have done it without it.

A small favor that we did for him was repaid 40 years later. What goes around comes around. As we give, so shall we receive.