Monday, March 15, 2004



Yesterday and today bucking and splitting firewood from up in the forest, a section of which the owner is converting to fruit trees. I wished him luck with deer and monkeys. My bucking and splitting muscles are not happy after a winter of non-use, but they were one happy bunch of muscles when they hit the bed last night.

Then this morning they're bouncy and restless as a bunch of teenagers, want to get back to the firewood thing, don't just sit around like this over morning tea or whatever, c'mon, c'mon, let's go, let's get busy, then they feel excitedly good and right at home aiming and swinging the axe, hearing and seeing the result, then pounding in the wedge and stacking the splits and stopping to stretch and straighten out a bit before going on again, irrepressible, muscles just love to do what they were made to do, it's best not to get in their way, but simply stand back and let them carry on.

Just now returned from splitting an already bucked oak trunk about two feet in diameter, wedging each section apart alone there in the turf of the meadow and forest birds so I could carry it piece by piece down to the van. And what a pleasure oak is. With all the ancient knowledge it embodies, to do with turning sunlight into tall strength, and as strong as oak is, and as hard and heavy as it is and as broad as it gets, it resists splitting until you get the leading wedge in far enough to enable placement of the following wedge; then the oak knows instantly that the game is up and splits in half as clean as a crystal. The hemispheres then split as readily as carrot sliced lengthwise with a knife, and with as crisply delicious a sound.

Then my sunlight-powered muscles carried all those hefty armfuls of golden sunlight down the mountain to dry in the sun for next winter's fires, all in the cycle that is always unbroken.

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