Jasper started cutting and splitting logs for us to use this winter.
The trees were ones that had fallen last summer at the westernmost edge of the property. The owner of the neighboring tract of land clear cut the forest bordering ours. Without the protection and buffer of those trees, the fierce winter winds felled a good swath of our trees, too.
I was mad about it to begin with. The owner of the land is something of a lumber and land baron around here, doesn’t live on the property but bought it just for the timber, and of course he didn’t think for a second about what would happen to our trees when he cut his down. But being mad about something you can do absolutely nothing about is no way to live.
Instead, we decided that when life knocks down your trees, it’s time to cut firewood.
Winter. It seems like such a very long way away, being in the middle of July as we are. It’s hard to believe that the days could be cold and dark and that the nights could be long. I’ve gotten used to sunshine and balmy weather (average of 70 degrees my friends!) and going to sleep at night while the robins are still singing and with only the thinnest of quilts.
But I know it won’t last, the Earth just keeps swinging around that sun, and so, forearms browning in the summer sun as I weed in the garden, I listen to buzz of the chainsaw and the metallic thunk of the ax in the lower field as Jasper chops firewood for the cold months ahead. And when I go help to move it and stack it, I think about how happy I’ll feel to throw one of these logs in the fireplace and listen to it crackling away come January.
There’s something nice about preparing for winter in the heat of summer. Something that’s deeply soul-satisfying about knowing that this hard work will have such tangible results. It’s not the same as working in an office and earning a paycheck. It’s not the same as throwing the switch on the thermostat and later paying the heating bill.
It’s harder, to be sure. But it is hugely rewarding, in a way I never knew before, and on an almost primal level. We worked hard, and this winter we’ll be warm.
And I feel rich beyond measure.