Tuesday, December 09, 2008


ELBOW GREASE


If a new neighbor were to come to you and say, "Howdy, neighbor, I have a few too many producing oil wells on my property I have to get rid of so I can build my house, do you want them? They have to be out of there in one week, though, or the builders will take them away-- I'm asking cause I heard that you heat your house with oil," you would naturally at once become blurry with feels like 24/7 action-- Free oil! Free heat! And of course would be frenziously unceasing in your effort to max the oil before the deadline, all of which is by way of explaining my elbow.

Because oil and wood, apart from their both being sun derivative, are one and the same if they are your fuel. Both need a bit of processing first of course, to make them usable in your heating system: exploring, drilling, pumping, refining and shipping in the case of non-renewable oil, and felling, bucking, splitting, lugging and drying in the case of renewable wood. All of which takes time-- in the case of oil, mainly by complex and costly manmade machinery, terminally hooked up to vast tankers and pipelines; in the case of wood, complex natural machinery comprising sun, air, rain and earth, simple tools like an axe and a wedge, and a recently evolved but complex refining device, i. e., me.

The result is the same: a warm house at the heart of winter, where, unlike oily machines that get no joy at the end, when my refining work is done I stand toasty beside my woodstove, warmed with homemade fuel, watching the snow fall among the trees...

Oh yeah, the elbow. My right elbow. All that chainsawing, felling, tossing, lugging, stacking and splitting compressed into those few days by the deadline (we made it), predominantly using my right elbow, has caused some sort of irritation to the muscles and possibly the joint of said juncture, which feels for the moment as though I might be my actual age, at least for a while, as I stand here at the window enjoying myself by not bending my arm, because I have to take it easy till my slower-paced youth returns, when I can go back to my labors at a measured pace using a natural elbow.

Beautiful replenishing refinery I have outside there, though, whole forests of it, rising into the sky. Plus, my golden firewood is all the way prettier and more fragrant than oil. And though cheaper as well, it's worth more, too, in terms of care, excitement, exercise and other true values, like supertankers of elbow grease.

2 comments:

Tabor said...

Our wood has been most important this past week as our heater has not been working and nights have been in the 20's. Although I will admit that there is a lot of wood ash that gently settles everywhere before the week is done.

Maggie said...

Ah, Bursitis? I'm sorry. Only space heaters here. I'm sorry about that too.