Monday, February 7, 2011
When I was a boy your Poppy used to make me go with him, deep into the National Forest, and cut Wood.
I never enjoyed it. It was always the same repetitious method. He would cut the tree down, saw it up into logs, and I would carry each dismembered being to the truck. We did this all afternoon.
When we finally filled the bed of the truck we would drive home and he would back that truck up to the barn. He would then climb out, point at the load and say, well, "Stack it".
I would then spend all of Saturday evening emptying the truck of the wood he had cut. I would grapple with two or three pieces and lumber then over to the woodpile (You'd better grin at that pun). I'm pretty sure that's where I learned to curse.
Did I mention this all occurred near the end of Summer?
It wasn't until the lingering arms of Fall fell across my face that we went out to split what we'd defiled.
He would have me set the logs up on a stump and then he would swing his heavy axe and split the wood. He would do this two or three times... to every log. It annoyed me to no end. Chopping wood. Good lord.
In the end he would have made three or four pieces out of each log.
Then.... you guessed it... I had to stack them all over again.
This was called "feeding the fireplace" or so I was told. In my opinion we were just cutting wood. Or more to the point, HE was cutting wood and I was stacking it. Repeatedly.
Personally, I called it Hell but I never enlightened your Poppy to my thoughts.
As it turned out... I'm kind of glad we did that. It was what gave us heat when the nights grew cold. Those logs that we'd (or "He'd") chopped into split ends, were fed into the fire of the stove. Those logs that I'd stacked so begrudgingly, and then carried even more begrudgingly back to the house, kept Me Warm.
I find it ironic now... considering the days I went out and cut the same wood, in a different state, and stacked the same wood, in a different place, so that You would feel warmth as well.
The burden of my childhood no longer seems as such a burden, but a necessary passage. For when I realized I was no longer a child, I also realized I had children of my own.
But you're going to have to learn that on your own.
One of these day's we'll have a fireplace to feed.
P.S. For the record, chopping wood is so much more fun than carrying it to the truck.