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  • Chainsaw gasoline is a mixture of gasoline and oil. The precise alchemy of that combination I don't know, but my father does. He mixed it before loading his chainsaw for our winter trips to the woods. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos to post of my father as I best remember him--standing over the tailgate of his blue Ford truck pouring chainsaw gas into the tank. I would be beside him, bundled up, sniffling up the snot that threatened to run to my lip.

    He could tell if a tree was dead by the trunk, which struck me as a fantastic mystery. With all the leaves on all the trees barren, how he could tell baffled me. Not that it inspired me to learn it, as he had from my grandfather. I wanted him to always know things, wanted someone else to. Subtle are the many ways we hesitate to grow up.

    When the landscapers at my apartment complex trim the trees growing around the buildings, the familiar smell wafts in through my window--pungent as a hundred dollars in pennies soaked inside a lawnmower and ground out like aluminum mulch.
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