Learn to use an axe and respect it and you can't help but love it. Abuse one and it will wear your hands raw and open your foot like an overcooked sausage.
There is something about chopping down a tree gives a man quiet resolve. It is brutal violence and solemn ritual combined. It is the act of sacrificing a life so that a new life can begin. The tree becomes fuel for a fire, or a shelf for books, a tread for a stair, a frame for a house, a chair, or a table. Each tree has its own history and unique fingerprint. Curved and worn from years of wind, rain, and drought. I've never chopped down a tree that was younger than me, and the realization of that fact is sobering in its finality. Here is a stalk that has been living and breathing this air longer that I have, and I am ending its life so that it can serve my purposes. But are we not given all living things and green plants for our use and cause? I will never kill an animal except for the use of food, so in the same way, I will never chop down the tree for any reason but to serve a noble purpose. What use is there in the sport of chopping down a tree? There is no moral reward in it. But to cut down a tree for firewood or to build a useful piece of furniture or to craft a jewelry box, or to make paper on which to write a love letter, what other use could serve so noble a purpose? Granted, a tree serves its purpose to simply stand tall and be admired, but I tell you the truth, I've never had a more intimate relationship with a tree than when my hands run the length of its grain with a plane or a saw or a sheet of sandpaper. I would challenge any naturalist to express their love for trees without ever finding out what's inside one. No one could truly understand a person without drawing out their soul through conversation. In the same way, I have drawn out the soul of many a tree through the means of a steel blade, and have known each of them personally through hours of joyful labor.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.