I used to worry about the fact that I started training and working as an arborist straight out of school – and had no other formal training that I could fall back on in case I was not able to do tree work any more.
More and more though I have come to realize that the work we do demands a very wide range of skills and makes you very good at finding practicable and efficient solutions to problems. Take rigging as an example:
Every tree poses its own unique set of problems, there is not one size fits all here, every time you are having to decide on the spur of the moment how you are going to tackle this specific set of problems in a safe and efficient fashion. Sometimes this may simply involve free falling bits of the canopy, other times it may demand complex rigging techniques, drift lines or load transfer systems, for example. Or a combination of both.
I love these challenges: they force me to keep an open mind when approaching them, to have an accurate feeling of where my abilities lie and what my limits are, to be prepared for situations to change suddenly, to be able to respond when unforeseen things occur. Rigging really is where all the different aspects and skills of tree work come together, the climbing, knowledge of the species you are working on, physics and knowledge regarding the tools you are using.
Sometimes solutions are unexpected.
I was taking down a Birch with Pascal yesterday. In the pouring rain. Covered in ivy. Yes, Monday indeed. Anyway, ideally I needed to redirect the line to position it over the part of the canopy I wanted to lower, but I did not have a redirect pulley at hand… how to solve it?
Pass the rigging line through a handy cavity and hey, presto! you have a redirect.
The really handy thing was that afterwards I could simply tie a running bowline onto the same point and lower that limb. Made me smile (how appropriate, come to think of it: “smile” shares the same letters as “slime” – and slimy is exactly what all the gear was after Monday morning! Days like that make you appreciate de-humidifiers).
So there you go. The point I was trying to make is that I have come to realize that by being able to work towards and implement solutions, you have acquired a really useful skill set that will do you good services in life.
And have stopped worrying – well, about that, at any rate, makes room for new worries.