Sunday, December 21, 2008


FIREWOOD FINDS OUT


There are secrets you can’t keep from firewood, especially oak. Such as where your feet are. Oak has relentless inertial curiosity, coupled with a strong affinity for toes. In fact we might be dealing here with one of the as yet unidentified forces at play in the universe-- so much remains a mystery to us. Someone with a scientific smirk on his face might remark “Oh, that’s just gravity at work,” but he’s simply confirming our instant hypothesis that he’s never split any oak in his life.

In my previous struggles regarding the wood, with its heavy agenda and grainy gravitas, it was generally the oak that had the upper hand, so to speak; it always knew where my feet were and how to reach them by the shortest route. Oak is deeply savvy, in its way; growing for centuries affords a pretty thorough education, well-grounded in gravity and inertia.

So because I have big feet I've been wasting a lot of energy anticipating, avoiding and however preventing firewood-toe interaction, so I finally got the message (you do not want to see my left big toe!) and took action. This morning I put on the brand-new size 11 steel-toed rubber boots I received at lightning speed from the surprisingly low-priced, yet high-quality Gempler’s (big-footed, long-armed rural expats take note), but the firewood didn’t know a thing about it. I was curious as to how quickly the oak would find out.

It didn't take long. This morning I was out firewooding as usual this time of year, in this instance splitting a 40 cm-diameter oak section into 8 splits, all of which were itching to get at my feet - it’s hard to herd oak once it’s split and on its own - in the woody melee, one of the splits broke free and headed instantly for that big toe you didn’t want to see - oak knows these things (e.g., left, not right) - it struck hard and fast, as usual, with that little vicious noogie in there for good measure that oak likes to give when it gets the chance, but it just-- bounced off my boot, giving a little oaken Huh? of surprise in mid-air, then falling to earth and just laying there stunned, not doing the usual hard bounce and wicked spin to maybe zing a shin or whang an ankle.

The oak was still crackling to itself as I tossed it among its fellows in the wheelbarrow, trying to keep the smirk off my face, you've got to be careful around oak. I noted though that the splits went on crackling and whispering in the wheelbarrow all the way to the woodpile… Maybe I should order shin guards and a helmet?

5 comments:

Chosen said...

Pshaw! Size 11 does not qualify as big feet. I wear 13EE and I know plenty of guys who wear size 15 or above. Size 11 is about average in my office.

Bob Brady said...

Unfortunately for me, size 11 is a big foot in Japan, where you and your office buds definitely couldn't live without mail order. The standard maximum size here is a 9 1/2, maybe a 10 if you can find one... My toes hit the front of my old locally bought boots; sleeve length is a problem too... I get most of my clothes on trips to the US.

ted said...

Are you repeating your yakudoshi this year Bob? Your body's had some tough luck.

Bob Brady said...

Nah, that's just part of the price of simpler living, and I'm now well paid up... Nothing educates like injury... Got my PhD for this year...

Maggie said...

Toe guards first. :)