Kickass, the doorstop dog, views trees different than the keeper does, but both do so with great respect; and there is guilt involved with the keeper as he views the many trees that were ground into pulp to publish the countless newspaper columns and back shelf books that he wrote. He is, in fact, deep into an apologia manuscript he calls “Treeson,” and hopes to finish it before he is sawed down by time.
That the reverence for trees is a genetic thing became apparent on a recent night when the clan males gathered at grandson Beau’s in Mazomanie as Beau demonstrated how his sawmill converts trees into lumber. Under the heading of “Big boys need big toys,” it was a most impressive show; and it spawned memories for the keeper in which his childhood trek to the country school included a detour to a slough where giant moss-covered logs from the original cut made an interesting, elevated walk. The logs were later salvaged by a neighbor who found rare quality lumber under the moss.
When the keeper’s family built the Mazo house on the hill 20 years ago, big white pine trees from the beloved Westfield Back-40 were sacrificed for paneling and woodwork; and remnants of that material survive in closets where the keeper now resides. Just what his plans are for this tree material is not obvious—especially to Phyllis, but the simple fact of its presence seems to give him some comfort, probably having to do with the kind of vague territorial concerns he might share with dogs, and perhaps as an even more distant reminder that his way-back-there predecessors once lived up in the trees.
The keeper needs to get to work on “Treeson!”