These past few days Chetwynd made me very proud to live here. Not that I am not always proud to call Chetwynd my home, but these past days have been especially gratifying.
It seems like this year the International Chainsaw Carving Championship planners have pulled out all the stops to do a heroic job of preparing for the event. And the carvers, artists, sculptors must have conspired to produce some of the highest quality art in their repertoires of fine art.
I have probably said something like this before but it bears repeating. I grew up looking at a tree as an object to be exploited. How many board feet of lumber in that tree? How many logs to the thousand will this stand average? How fast can I cut these trees off and let them fall? How long will it take to turn them into 2X6s and 2X10s? A few of the logs even yielded 2X20s. Not many of those trees still standing in our forests!
One question that was never asked around our table: What awesome piece of art is concealed within the barky exterior of that tree? It just didn’t enter our minds. Nor could it. Our concern was more to put food on the table than to marvel at hidden art and secret sculpture.
But 12% of Century 21 is history and we live in a different Chetwynd than that of sixty years ago. The Community Carved by Success has built much on the foundations laid by the pioneers even if those pioneers didn’t have much time or money to throw at art.
Nevertheless, we are the beneficiaries of the vision of some of our more recent leaders who apparently had X-ray eyes. They saw not the forest surrounding the trees. Neither did they limit their looking to the trees. No; they probed within to the hidden potential that had been overlooked. Taking their cues from the experiences of other visionaries, they worked to present a picture of Chetwynd that more pedestrian minds struggled to appreciate.
But they persevered, and from that first competition nine years ago, the Chainsaw Carving event has grown year by year. That’s how most things grow, isn’t it? But growth of an event, like growth in a garden, is not automatic. It took the will to buck resistance, the will to follow the vision, the will to push forward even when colleagues did not always share the full intensity of the vision.
In 2013 the picture is different. I don’t think anyone questions the wisdom of immediately jumping into planning for 2014 – which will happen. More problematic is the question of how to manage our growing inventory of magnificent sculptures to maintain their beauty and integrity for years to come.
Magnificent and inspiring as was the work of the last few years, this year’s production takes a back seat to none of it, and we ask ourselves, “Can it possibly get even better next year?”
Merlin Nichols, Mayor