Gravitational Anarchy Explained

A life devoid of introspection is faulty, or so the great philosophers have intoned over the centuries.  For that reason and to help organize my thoughts, I wanted to  explain Gravitational Anarchy as I see it.  I wanted to put together a loadstone type post, with plenty of pictures.

In the future, I look forward to coming back to this post and see if my time capsule of thoughts has panned out and/or in what direction it has all gone. For me that is the beauty of writing.  The ability to clarify, express then entomb thoughts and mental wonderings.  Pinning them to the ground, see if they have merit, stand the test of time!


It has been a wonderful journey, this career, this lifestyle I call arboriculture. In retrospect, my professional life has not turned out the way I planned so long ago trudging through the halls of high school.  Sure, I did as I planned.  I graduated. I explored. I traveled.  I graduated yet again and eventually settled. Not by my initial dictates, but to my ultimate satisfaction.  So far a life well lived!


It has not been easy.  Working for a family owned company came with ups and downs.  Forging a mutual respect, a balance between personal and professional with people I love and respect on many different levels, took no less than seven years.  There were far more failures than successes, more tears than laughs.

However, the laughter and successes carry more weight, leave more lasting impressions, form the foundations I now stand on.  This is so because I choose it to be.  Amazing the power of choice!  I have no regrets, but it is not something I would openly recommend.  I never intended to follow in the family path and climb trees for a living.  However, life happens!

2010 ITCC Presented by Davey Tree

So the bulk of my professional life has been devoted to production tree care.  I have rigged, climbed, pruned, cabled, felled, chipped, raked, swept…  I climbed competitively for 12 years and helped at the International Tree Climbing Championship for over a decade.   This summer in Toronto, will mark my fourteenth year volunteering and thirteen in a row.  Through it all I have laughed, smiled and learned.  I consider myself a student of arboriculture and devotee to the rope!   A Log Budda seeking enlightenment!


But on same days it has been a difficult job choice.  Not from hard work, but the loss of tree workers on staggering pace.  Involvement in this industry for more than a fleeting amount of time means to know of, to hear, of or to experience a severe injury or fatality.

I remember vividly each and every time and place I was when I heard of a injured or killed friend or colleague.  The situations are never the same, but eerily similar in way shape and form.  I, like many, have lost friends to this work.  To meet somebody in this industry who has not is the exception.


I discovered about nine years ago, I loved to teach.  I enjoy showing others how to do things, the why of it all.  I should have seen it coming.  It is directly related to my love of learning.  For me to teach is to learn.

About five years ago I realized through my mentors and friends that I could no longer stay in this business less I do something to help others.  Less I take the skills I had acquired through work and intersect them with the skills I was developing to teach.  I could only do so much good  in my small sphere if influence holding a chainsaw.

Penn Del Master's 2012 70

The history of how I went about this is detailed on the ABOUT page here in the blog.  The website About page adds some details, as well.  For the last six months I have refocused, refined and worked hard to develop the brand of Gravitational Anarchy.  This will happen slowly over time, regardless of my efforts.  I am just trying to steer it to my vision.


Where the path will go, I am unsure. That is exciting!  What has become apparent to me though is that, if Gravitational Anarchy is to become anything it will be people based.  Tree climbers and tree lovers, anybody with an appreciation for nature and experiencing it in new ways.  My experience is tree work, but I hope to learn and expand in to much more.  All with the help of the main feature of Gravitational Anarchy, the people.


I have no great pretensions.  I simply want to build a community of people who want to share and build.  I want on outlet for my thoughts and the thoughts of others.  Whether those thoughts be in pictures, writing, actions or what not, does not matter to me.

There are plenty of online resources for skills and techniques.  Sure there will be some here, but with my own way of seeing it, going about it.  With yours too!  Much of my writing has been put in trade magazines and the like.  However, there is a far greater body of work that will never make it to mainstream media.  The blog and website will be an outlet for that as well.  My work and others.


Along the way, if we can help each other and help others be safer, enjoy life more, a bit longer, laugh and see things from a less than ordinary point of view, great.  I am not in this for money.  If I wanted that, I would have choose another career path!  If I can forge a living from my travels and training, my writing, speaking engagements, seminars, my teaching, excellent.  If not, I know what to do.  This blog is a way to stay connected no matter where I am earning the bacon.  To share and help, regardless of monetary considerations.


That is the big picture for me, in my mind’s eye.  As life has shown, it may all turn out differently.  The path is not preordained, nor would I want it to be.What to expect?  My thoughts, your thoughts, some books, some training materials, some pictures, some good ideas, some tips, some videos…  Many laughs, because if we are not laughing we are not learning.


The ephemeral nature of our lives has been on my mind of late.  A mentor and friend’s health fades as the sun inevitably sets.  This is life too.  I choose to use the emotion and power I feel from his challenges to boost my own forward, to keep them in perspective, to learn, to grow.  There are times in life when the only combat that can be waged, the only weapons to employ are love and empathy.  They are powerful weapons indeed.

I do not know where it will end up and I am not really concerned.  That is not to say I am stupid and apathetic, just surrendered and committed to the anarchy of gravity and those who defy it.



3 thoughts on “Gravitational Anarchy Explained

  1. Tony, I love this post! It really is cool to step back and see what let us to this point in our lives. You’ve made me think today about my own personal history and reflect on why I have choosen the path to trees.

    Awesome pics too, and I especially like the Log Budda!


    • Chris,

      Thanks for the comments. It is important to take a step back, to look at what we’ve done, why, where we intend to go. Perspective is a good thing and a world with a bit more gratitude would be amazing. It all starts with us.

      There is so much more to tree climbing and tree climbers. I hope the blog becomes a place where we can tell some of these stories. Stories that will never appear in magazines and only come out late at night for a select few to hear.

  2. Tony,
    I hear what you’re saying and totally agree.
    People are always talking about thinking and acting “outside the box”, but when we first get into tree work (or any work for that matter); in a sense we have no choice but to be in a box. It is up to us to make sure that at least we keep the lid to that box open (by keeping our eyes, ears and mind open) and listening to people who have been in this industry for any length of time. I know that I can still learn something new from anyone, no matter if they’re a climber, or a groundie dragging brush.
    If we are lucky, we will have a good mentor(s) to help guide us and keep us safe while we go from being “green” (as in wood) to a well-seasoned veteran who can than in turn help someone else.

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