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The Man that was BlueAl Hayward for Salem-News.com
In 1949 working in an isolated logging camp in Northern Idaho near the Montana border, when there arrived a very tall and thin blue man assigned to sleep in the same bunk house as I.
(THE DALLES) - I once met a man who's skin was blue. To say, I knew, is wrong, for no one probably ever knew him.
I never wrote about him or told anyone that I once worked with a blue man, for fear they would perceive me to be more insane than most likely they already did. That is until I recently read a story of a man that was actually blue but said condition is said to be real but very rare.
In 1949 working in an isolated logging camp in Northern Idaho near the Montana border, when there arrived a very tall and thin blue man assigned to sleep in the same bunk house as I. I was told his job was that of a timber cruiser. He was blue. He kept to himself - never talked to anyone that I heard.
Timber cruisers walk from mountain tops to mountain tops in virgin forests. surveying roadless timbered wilderness for the logging companies. Their job is to determine how many board feet of lumber could be harvested from the next ten square miles of timeber before we built roads into it. Not only the amount of timber, what kind; cedar, pine or fir and what size trees - long before drones and goggle earth. Can you imagine your boss standing you to the end of a mountain logging road and pointing up a canyon for about 10 miles and tell you, " take your lunch and a knap sack of ribbons and survey that forest for us and I'll pick you back up here around dark." No GPS, no back pack, no survival gear no cell phones. no excuses or rescue 'copters - your on your own - buddy and oh by the way, no fires this time of the year.
I had great admiration for those guys that knew not generally where they were but knew exactly where they were. They would tie a ribbon on the tree telling us where to cut to make way for a logging road to be built later. I wish I could have learned his skills. With his long legs I was sure he could walk over fallen logs that I would have to climb over. The distance they could cover in a day was astonishing. As was their accuracy of the amount and kind of logs they were in a given area without powerlines or roads. They were a rare and very valuable asset to logging companies that bid on private and government land before cutting and logging. I assume they got paid well.
When I was much younger and stronger I was comfortable in the mountains and forest, for the wilderness that seems to scare so many, was home to him, and I'm sure no tree, or bear or other creature that call the forest home ever asked him why his skin was blue.
I don't know his name, if I ever heard it but I lived with him one summer and he is on the top of men I wish I could have got to know... for there is so much he could have taught me about people, about our land, the trees that grow on there and the people that run and hide under them for fear of themselves.
Al Hayward, a Chinese trade expert, has lived, worked, and done business in mainland China and other countries for decades, and he is currently working on a 20 billion dollar "City of Tomorrow" project near Macau.
Hayward's Portland, Oregon advertising agency helped achieve Oregon's Bottle Bill and was instrumental in the campaign that led to the state's full service gas stations.
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