Adam’s Summer Purgatory, 2008 (2013)

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kilt guy

I have worked for Rhino for six days, and am still unfamiliar with most of the staff. Those I have met thus far know me as the guy who used to work at Dynamic, across the way; most of the conversations I have had concern the differences between the two companies. The Rhino planters are curious about the tree prices and quality specs. They wonder if they would be better off, if they would make more money, on the other side.

I never say much about what strikes me as a pretty stark contrast between the aesthetics and culture of the two companies. The people at Rhino are different, more abrasive, and wilder than their counterparts at Dynamic.

For instance, there are about 15 times as many facial piercings in the Rhino camp. People smoke cigarettes and pot constantly; in the trucks, at camp and on the block. There are 10 smokers at Rhino for every one at Dynamic. The music plays louder and there is more yelling; there are more patch-strewn, safety-pinned hooded sweatshirts than, say, polypro fleeces from Mountain Equipment Co-op. There is more hair dye, less redundant / bureaucratic tongue-in-cheek 'safety meetings' where we are lectured about the possibility of falling trees in the bushline.

At Dynamic there are a group of men who go to the gym on the day off. One of the crew bosses has a bench press outside his trailer. At Rhino, no one is like that. On my old crew, there was Benson, who played and recorded sugary twee-pop on vintage analogue equipment. On my new crew, Mark and Riley: who play in a band called "Throat Kick."

There are also more dogs in camp, roaming like strays, being thrown out of the mess tent, chasing vehicles, and chewing up copies of the company newsletter, The Turbulent Times.

I have contributed a poem called ‘Come to My Tent,’ which I wrote during a campfire party when I was hiding away from everyone.


This world is new to you
And I am a part of it
And I know it must be exciting
To see this with new eyes
These people around these kinds
Of fires; drunk, yelling, singing
You are nice looking
Relatively speaking,
always relatively speaking
But I wish you were more Opaque

Anyways: come to my tent
Just end up there somehow
Make it look natural
I will know your purpose
And won’t leave you on a limb
Tonight I want to hold somebody
And it must look accidental
Be discrete.

I need to hold somebody, and you
You are my first choice.
Come to my tent;
This probably wouldn’t happen anywhere else
Between us
Under any other circumstances.
And that makes it special
In a way.


I have heard people refer to fitness and getting into shape as a positive byproduct of planting trees. It is true that you build muscle and lose weight - it is a natural process. We are working 10-hour days, hiking with weight around our hips, prying open holes in hard ground and bending over thousands of times a day. After doing this for awhile you become extremely fit - but at some point you peak, and after that you wither. By the end of the season you are so physically drained that you get depressed, your system overtaxed and in utter shock. After two weeks on the outside, your muscle, now purposeless, will melt into fat. This is a level of activity that cannot be sustained, and an unbalanced fitness that can never last.

So, I guess, it’s like ‘binge fitness.’

My thoughts.

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