Sunday, October 15, 2006


Today's the kind of day gods have all the time, blue and sunny with a cool breeze from the north in the first baby steps of winter, perfect for sweaty work like arranging all that unkempt firewood out there more to my convenience when winter comes at last full-stride in its big white boots, nothing like winter for lessons in firewood management-- learning where the snow drifts, realizing how tough it is to wade any distance through hipdeep snow while lugging a big canvas bag full of firewood, and all the related back-and-forthing.

So I'm optimizing today, standing there gazing at the firewood layout just the way Michaelangelo used to gaze at the Cistine ceiling, superimposing future reality as he envisioned it, but unlike Michaelangelo, without a pope over my shoulder I stop every once in a while to freshen the artist mind by watching the hundreds of sailboats out on the lake, the sailers taking whizzy advantage of this early autumn gift and doing the windy idyllic. All I can see from this distance are the white sails against the dark blue of the lake and the islands (the lake is right at eye level from up here), but nothing looks happier than a big white sail filled with the breath of life, much like the soul of the one at the helm.

And in the same the way, when you're fully physically occupied with firewood, thoughts tend to sail along on their own, unhelmed ponderings heading off in whatever direction, driven by the mindwind... For example with my arms full of oak I am suddenly pleased at recollecting the new socks I found yesterday-- in, of all things, a selection of sizes bigger than 26. I snapped up four pairs.

I'd long ago stopped thinking about socks in Japan (sounds like an odd thing to say, if you've never been a sasquatch type foreigner here and aren't carrying firewood) because my feet are too long for them, my big toes push through standard Japanese socks in no time; shoes too-- used to seem like every Japanese guy wore a 26 shoe maximum, I wear a 29 minimum. So I stopped thinking about shoes here as well. Both people and things were a lot smaller back in the early 70s when this mindset of mine was set; even on the bus I couldn't stand up straight unless I put my head in the air-vent box in the roof, but then I couldn't see anything. Now in the new big buses I can stand up straight and see things out the window if I bend over a bit, but I didn’t make the bus/sock connection that would have been obvious if I'd thought about it. But who thinks about socks on buses?

Firewood, on the other hand, is a gateway to everything in the universe.


Maya's Granny said...

Those chores that get us ready for winter, firwood and canning and such, are such an opportunity for thinking about any and everything. I wonder how many inventions and philosophies have been worked out while getting ready for the cold times?

Winston said...

For the last few years our winters have been so mild, even balmy at times, that the traditional winterization routines don't make sense, except as time markers.

Early predictions for this year show more of the same. Of course, we love it, not having to shovel snow or worry about losing our cars to ice storms. The downside is that in several years, it has not gotten cold enough for long enough to keep the bug and weed populations under control. The ants shall inherit the Earth, at least the Tennessee slice of it.

Crafty job of weaving whole fabric from four disparate threads, Robert. Great job!

Robert Brady said...

That's definitely how we got here. In the ongoing vein, we seek to add our grace to what has been passed down...

Tabor said...

I have, on occasion, reached that true creative wandering flow while focusing on some repetitive but rewarding task. But that was a few decades ago. My life these days is chaos.