Saturday, October 4, 2008

Stacking Firewood

For the first time, this winter I am going to try to heat my house with wood. I have been stacking firewood--a lot of firewood--this fall. There's something about the process that feels elemental: just think how long human beings have been collecting, splitting, storing, and using firewood. The patient energy of trees is turned into heat and light at the darkest time of the year.

When I was a teenager, I used to help my dad split wood. I loved the sound of the sledgehammer hitting the iron wedge, the ever-so-satisfying crack of a log as it split in two, and then sitting before the fire on winter evenings, remembering the beautiful fall days we spent splitting and stacking the wood.

These days I only split a few logs by hand, just to get oversized pieces small enough to fit into my stove. But I still insist on stacking it all myself, even as my back objects. And this winter, what I will remember is how much joy I found, today, in this simple chore.

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