Chimney Sweeps and Chainsaws

Chimney sweeps and chainsaws. That might be a good prompt for a suspense or thriller story, but that’s not my intention. This last week, as Fall began to arrive, our neighborhood came alive with buzzing, chopping and thudding sounds. Removing dead branches or pruning for safety is important. It improves the health of the tree and maintains the neighborhood aesthetics. At least that is what our HOA says.

Buzz! Roaring chainsaws began screeching their terrifying soprano shrill. Ching! Metal sounds and falling branches could be heard throughout the day. Boom! A palm tree prawn fell to the ground. Pow! Branches drop into a bed of a truck. Swoosh!  Workers drag dead tree carcasses across the lawns. Okay, maybe it is sounding a bit more like a thriller.

As the cooler weather starts punctuating our weeks here in SoCal, we also began to see chimney sweeps showing up. They dance across the rooftops conducting their trade. Soot is removed and chimney caps are repaired. Preparations are underway for the coming winter months. And I can’t help but sing the song Chim Chim Cher-ee

Pruning and preparing. I see a personal application during this season. I suspect some of you, like me, have “dead branches” that need to be removed. Maybe that old meeting series that no longer adds value. It could be that routine or habit that we keep for comfort, but the leaves of value have long since died. Some of the well-worn rituals are rotting away and adding dead weight to our work. It’s time to prune. Clear away the dead prawns and free up your cognitive load. 

Practices, processes and patterns in our lives are helpful and add a warm glow to our days.  But over time, like creosote, they can build up and add the risk of burnout. It’s time to sweep away the soot. Examine the demands on your life.  Look with care at what consumes your energy, your movement, your heart and your mind.  What should you keep? What should you sweep?  Now is a good time to pause and survey the branches.  Clear the flue. Prepare for the winter months. Make room for the new.

And of course, I’m confident as you begin your pruning and sweeping, good luck will ensue!

Chim chiminey
Chim chiminey
Chim chim cher-oo!
Good luck will rub off when
I shakes 'ands with you

  • Sherman, Richard M., and Sherman, Robert B. “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” Mary Poppins, Walt Disney Records, 1964.
  • Images generated using OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 model.