July 05, 2010

The fuel that heats twice

There is a room at Goat Rope Farm that was large, damp and inhospitable for much of the year until we added a wood stove. Now, in those seemingly distant days of cold, it's the best place to be on a chilly evening. I totally understand the pagan veneration of the hearth and have poured my libations to Hestia, the goddess who presides over such things.

It also provides year round opportunities for exercise and scavenging. I spent a good part of the last Christmas holiday cutting up some trees that fell from our hill to a neighbor's yard (while the Spousal Unit was kayaking in a warmer clime, incidentally). I didn't really mind though, as long as I could get the chainsaws started. I looked upon it as a kind of weight training boot camp.

The wood was removed in pieces to our yard, where I'm still chopping it up. The wood pile is getting bigger and bigger, although I can't really tell that the pile of yet to be cut wood is getting any smaller. As a martial artist, I view chopping wood as a kind of hojo undo, or supplementary exercise.

I found this passage in Walden that speaks to my condition:

Every man looks at his wood-pile with a kind of affection. I loved to have mine before my window, and the more chips the better to remind me of my pleasing work....they warmed me twice, once while I was splitting them, and again when they were in the fire, so that no fuel could give out more heat.

Chopping wood in the summer has the added value of reminding me that change is inevitable, and that even the raging summer is destined to wane in time.

BYRD'S SHOES are likely to go unfilled, whoever occupies his seat in the Senate. Here's Ken Ward in Coal Tattoo looking at his legacy of rationality and realism in coal and climate controversies.

STALEMATE. As noted in earlier posts, efforts to help the unemployed and prevent further layoffs have been stymied in Congress.

DOUBLE DIPPING is a real possibility with the Great Recession, especially if conservatives and deficit hawks continue to block action to help the recovery.

IF THAT HAPPENS, chalk it up to a coalition of "the heartless, the clueless and the confused."


1 comment:

Martha Yager said...

I love to chop wood and insisted on doing it all winter, bald chemo head glinting in the chill air. People thought I was totally nuts, but I had to do it. I love puzzling out exactly how I want to approach each piece, and on a good chop, watching a good swing split it cleanly. I've heated with wood most of my life. I swear I'll be chopping wood until I can't lift the sledgehammer.