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  • The 100 year old dead tree shook violently each time a limb was severed. The man responsible for these tree temblors was hanging by a single rope, 30 feet up. He just smiled.

    He was sure-footed, confident and strong. He knew he was an expert at a dangerous task where the occupational hazard is death. However, just like the daring young man on the flying trapeze; he floated through the air with the greatest of ease.

    Santo squinted at the sun and pulled himself higher. His chainsaw blade consumed limbs that were 2 and 3 feet in diameter with ear-splitting cacophony and, tied by a guide rope, were gently lowered to the ground. Over 6 hours, he dismantled a structure that watched over many generations of backyard parties in the summer, winter snowstorms, weddings, funerals, fires and floods – many captured and archived on black and white film.

    He’s not crazy. Only a fool would take this job lightly. He’s careful, smart and infused with 120 pounds of sheer bravery. His answer to a silly “how’s it going up there” question, spoke volumes. “Mi corazón está latiendo rápido.”

    Juggling a chainsaw and ropes, he laid to rest an old friend. The ancient tree would have been pleased with its final performance – a leading role in Santo’s Cirque du Soleil.

    Photo A. Young April 2013
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