Splitting Wood at Dusk

When the mundane and sometimes exhausting tasks of staying alive are also bright moments to savour: the cold in your cheeks, the shocking crack of your grandpa’s maul exploding a dry round of wood, the dogs basking in the glow of late winter dusk, the love pouring out your heart through your eyes and fingers as another day dies.

I actually love this chore, especially when someone else has dragged straight, knot-free deadwood out of the bush and dried it and bucked it up neatly so that it jumps apart with the mere suggestion of a blow. The physicality is good. The sense of accomplishment is good. Being outside is good. And truly, it’s the best part, because you’re nearly at the end of the long chain of events that has to occur before you can actually burn it. When people come to visit from the city, they always want to help with the wood, and I don’t blame them, though there are far less enjoyable jobs I wish they would help with…

My dad loves to say, “The man who chops his own firewood is warmed by it twice,” to which I reply, “The gal who logs and bucks and loads and hauls and stacks and unstacks and splits and stacks and moves closer to the house and chops her own firewood is warmed by it many times over.”

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