"…spent on the unimportant wood…"

Mood: raw-handed and glad-weary…

Weather: sunny but cold; clear but windy…

Reading: Gargantua & Pantagruel by Franois Rabelais

Listening To: Symphony #3 by Henryk Grecki

“…the weight of an axe-head poised aloft,

the grip of earth on outspread feet,

the life of muscles rocking soft

and smooth and moist in vernal heat…”

The pleasures of splitting logs are well known to men: the feet planted wide, the silent unstoppable flow of the downswing, the coordination that is called hand-eye (as austere hands achieve whatever concupiscent eye desires).

When, longing for that sweetest cleft (which, in this case, is the slightest fissure visible), where the insinuating edge of the blade can gain entry… where the shape of its will can be done.

Dare I say that there is nothing like the sudden opening of wood? O, but it is like so many other things… the stroke of the axe, like lightning. A bisection so perfect that halves fall away from each other… as in a mirror. Falling upon the leaf-soft ground, as twins shot through the heart.

Today, it is the logs of a once-mighty Sweetgum that stood high above the grove that runs our southerly property line. Felled only recently, the wood is still fresh and glistening in fragrant balsam sap.

Liquidambar styraciflua is nothing if not an obstinate tree; lovely Deciduous foliage, but utterly incorrigble in death. The grains twist, enfold and overlap, whorl and gnarl – rendering even the most careful eye and powerful blow helpless to the fickle inclinations of the wood. The trunks are torn apart weeping, frothing milky resin in lip-smacking crackles and groanings.

My good lord Morehead made a generous offer of the use of his tools and his person in such an endeavor, so he and I chased the afternoon well into the better part of this evening. Heaving and splitting the huge logs into workable firewood, Time rushed past us as our energies were thus engaged…

Piled high to cure `round the trunk of its berth, we departed in handshake promises to return to task upon a new Sun`s rising.

Exhaling, my hot breath tumbled out before me in the frigid evening air…

…breathing deep a bittersweet incense of tree and man.


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