21379497286_969fa4ae23_zPhoto by r reeve via Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I love to walk, and because I never drive when I can stroll, I walk for at least an hour a day. Happily, this lets me indulge in one of my other hobbies— ogling arborists.  

I first acquired an appreciation of tree guys over a decade ago, when my neighbors began warning me that the ailing birch in my backyard needed to be cut down before it decided to come down itself. On my roof.  So I phoned around and hired a tree service.  

When I looked out the window of my home office the next morning, my backyard was full of muscular dudes!  Striding about, calling to each other, zipping up lines into my tree, then wielding chain saws as branches came crashing down.

In a word: Yum!  

Sure, I was losing a tree. And my wallet was taking a hit. But the silver lining? For a couple of hours my backyard was full of very attractive men. Fueling, of course, a favorite fantasy of single women everywhere—cute guys growing on trees!   

With the song “It’s Raining Men” playing in my head, I abandoned any idea of getting work done. I sat at the window and enjoyed the view. Ever since my first crush, on Superman, I’ve had a soft spot for strong-looking dudes with a can-do attitude. Of course, most of these guys were considerably younger than I was. Plus, a writer who lives with her nose in a book and a hunk who works up a tree? I’m not sure that’s a match made in heaven. But I could look and enjoy. I even made up a little poem on the spot:  

I think that I shall never see

A poem as lovely as  

A buff-looking dude working in a tree.      

Since that day, I’ve always paused on my walks to savor the spectacle of a tree coming down. Walking the dog in my tree-filled suburban neighborhood has given me countless opportunities to stop and gawk. And to chat, because over the years, I‘ve found that tree guys are easy to talk to.  

“I always wanted this job,” one recently confided after I fell into conversation with him during his lunch break. “I used to watch guys doing this as a kid and all I wanted was to be up there with them.”

“And you still enjoy it?”

He smiled. “Oh yeah.”  

Apparently, a certain kind of little boy starts climbing trees as a kid and never wants to come down.  

“It’s both an art and a science,” another explained to me. “And each project is different. I plan to be doing this for a long time.”

Thankfully, he’ll be able to. Because luckily (for both of us) taking care of trees is one job you can’t digitize or send overseas.   

This morning I stopped to watch a dude in his forties zipping up the trunk of a mammoth tree with the help of a rope-and pulley system. Seeing me, he called down with a grin:  “Another day at the office!”

I’m sure there are bad days. I’m sure when it’s pouring rain or icy cold outside, they all wish they were inside, toiling in a warm, dry cubicle somewhere.   

Actually, I’m pretty sure they don’t. And I’m glad.  


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  • Molly Stevens October 19, 2015 at 6:07 am

    We live in a pine forest and those some of those old, tired, huge pines have had to come down. We have a wonderful tree guy with a ‘great personality’ if you know what I mean. He doesn’t quite fit your stereotype even in my fantasies. Haha. Very funny piece.

  • Kelly October 18, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Love it!

  • Stephen October 18, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    I like the story, but share the views of your readers who are sad when large trees come down. It is impressive to watch, but I always feel we have lost something special.

  • Bonnie K. Frogma October 18, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    I always think the same thing about professional waterpeople – deckhands on tugs and such – such a splendid job to have on a beautiful, sunny day in the sixties or seventies but then OMG they still have to go out when it’s ten degrees and miserable out there.

    And the poetry is beautiful. Boy, it’s been a while since I added to my own Bad Poetry label, I should try to come up with something while I’m laid up here for a bit! Maybe something about when a good boob goes bad…

  • Susan Jordan October 18, 2015 at 2:14 pm


    I loved this column! Funny and clever and about a GREAT subject.
    Thanks for your as always delightful writing.

  • Kate October 17, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    This essay is SO funny – and inspiring! Guys in trees. Who knew? How great!

  • Ronna Benjamin October 17, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    I can’t wait for the day when I look out my backyard and see some muscular guys. I did see a couple of turkeys (real ones) the other day. I don’t think that counts. Love this!

  • Roz Warren October 17, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Thanks, everyone, for the terrific comments. This is one of those instances where the comments section is just as entertaining as the essay itself. Thanks for being so cool and clever, and for taking the time to connect.

  • Leslie Handler October 17, 2015 at 7:47 am

    I’m selling my car today! No more driving for me.

  • Carol Cassara October 16, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    That song. Such a classic! And so perfect for this post. Which I enjoyed almost as much as i would have enjoyed the view.

  • Leslie in Oregon October 16, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    I would laugh except we covet our trees here in western Oregon, so when a tree comes down, we cry. Especially since so many people who move here are frightened by the tall Douglas Firs and have healthy ones taken down for no good reason. And then there are the “arborists” who make their living by recommending removal of trees that could be saved with a little pruning or other treatment. For these reasons, I shudder when I see a tree crew in action.

  • Jim Nolan October 16, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Great piece, Roz! My cousin’s husband cuts down his own trees. He uses a bow and arrow to send the rope over a branch, and then pulls up. I would be way to chicken. He also wears special chaps that would stop the chainsaw from cutting into his legs in case of accident.

  • Beth Edelman October 16, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Common to all, all cultures, all people, admiration and love of beauty. Me too.

  • Marcia @ Menopausal Mother October 16, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    There’s just something so sexy about a guy in a hardhat and a harness that secures them to the tree while they’re trimming….. My neighbor is a tree trimmer and he is ridiculously buff. My hubs is a landscaper. I keep telling him he needs to wear a harness and a hard hat…..

  • Paul Kandarian October 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    I feel the same way about hot women in uniform, military, police, firefighter, FedEx, etc. I guess that would include buff babes in trees, now that I think about it…great, now it’s all I can think about. THanks, Roz, thanks a lot.

  • Max and Jack October 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    We agree with you, Grandma. Watching men in trees is awesome. Wait, you are talking about the squirrel variety, right?

  • Con Chapman October 16, 2015 at 1:57 pm


  • Mindi October 16, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Normally I’m happy to live in the city. Now I’m bumming out not to have a backyard with trees.

  • Mickey October 16, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Oh, yes, men, hunky, muscular men with the ‘can-do’ attitude in trees. Yes. Long story. I spent two weeks at a friend’s house while she was out of town. The week before lightning struck one of her two front yard mile high palm trees. (They look mile high to me.) Tree guy, the one in charge, not young anymore, maybe our age, has a woowoo young muscular guy shimmying, no, spiking up the trees for their wages. While I was there, while she was still gone, the remaining palm, she had the guy come and the other, the woowoo guy cut the struck palm down. He told her the second would probably die. Lo and behold it got struck while I was there. Meanwhile, waiting for the tree to die, no, wondering if I should call Kim, an enterprising (and charges more) tree guy knocked on the door and offered to do the job. Not as woowoo as the other tree guy. Then Kim’s original tree guys stopped over and said they were back to cut down the second one. However, at this point, I call Kim. She says it will have to wait till I get back which was a few days hence. Fast forward to Kim back, tree guys knocking on the door, discussion of trees twice struck, my, my, what a lovely sight, that young man. Gave the manager guy a pair of bolt cutters I found in Kim’s alley. She didn’t want them. Manager gave me a price, actually prices for cutting the trees in my yards, about $300 more than I can afford but that palm tree needs to come down. An Africanized bee magnet. And my mesquites in the alley, oh, boy. So I haven’t done anything about the trees except pay another guy, not hansome, just industrious to work on the yards and bless him, cut back the mesquite hanging over my driveway and the public sidewalk. Point?! Yes, fine view of men in trees. Thank you, Roz. Love the poem. Wish I loved to walk. Hey, I know this is long but you said I could tell a long story! More thanks, Roz. You write so many things I think that we must be connected psychically! Just kidding. Greetings and salutations from not so sunny today Tucson.

  • Tam Warner Minton October 16, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    you should hang with buff guys on a dive boat. I like it when they change into their wetsuit! 🙂

  • Mister Wonderful October 16, 2015 at 1:43 pm


  • bill October 16, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Definitely a boys playing in trees thing. I see them when we have that service, and part of me wishes I could be up there to — even if I’m sure that the limb I’d be lopping off with that chainsaw might well be mine!

  • Suzanne Fluhr October 16, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree——man. 🙂

  • Dave Astor October 16, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Roz, the best tree-related piece I’ve read since O. Henry’s “The Last Leaf.” 🙂

  • John Philipp October 16, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Roz, a very amusing confession beautifully crafted, though not surprising as you are clearly in love with the topic.

    I was pleased to see you didn’t traipse down the addiction trail as so many tree guy watchers have done, planting small fast-growing forests on a schedule so within the decade they can order tree work every few weeks. Then they run out of money and resort to small then larger larcenies to feed their habit. Such a sad picture.

    Also, I hesitate to report, I heard when Amazon gets their drone delivery service up and flying they plan to offer tree pruning — you know, while they’re there and in the air already.

    So look up while you can and keep the ink flowing.

  • Joan Leof October 16, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    The only thing missing was asking one of then to build you a tree house so you could offer your tree men a little treat up there!

  • Tim Jones October 16, 2015 at 10:57 am

    I know what you mean about getting that weak in the knees feeling when you see buff men in trees. I have the same feeling when I see a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese. Yum!

  • Risa October 16, 2015 at 10:19 am

    A friend of mine goes weak in the knees when she sees a guy wearing a nail apron, so I get it. We have a lot of trees in my neighborhood. I’ll be looking up more often. So, thanks!

  • Stacia Friedman October 16, 2015 at 10:18 am

    It’s not just outdoor guys who’s drool worthy. I was in a Wegmann’s the other day and almost dropped my avocados when a super hunky male employee came into view. His arms were so sculpted, I thought Michaelangelo was still working on them! I thanked him for the “view” and headed for the cheese dept with a big smile on my face.

  • Judy Weightman October 16, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Watching muscular men do just about any kind of skilled labor is an excellent use of one’s time.

  • Donna Cavanagh October 16, 2015 at 8:49 am

    I always wondered why you never drove! I have to start looking upwards more often and I don’t mean that in the spiritual sense! So funny Roz!

  • Barbara Thornbrough October 16, 2015 at 7:57 am

    This is just hysterical. Once years ago in Concord, Ma there was a big storm and a cherry tree fell in our yard. I got right on them phone and called the trees man. As I was talking to him another big tree fell and hit the ground. He said “Say no more I heard the other tree fall.” I said,Yes, chachinga for you Kent. ” He came the next day. He was a “tree man like no other. Women all over town were treated to his fine manner and his strong cool looks . Something about the chain saw also. Anyway, I recalled with laughter this incident when you wrote this piece. Cheers, Barbara