Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 24: Woodpile

My neighbors have finished stacking their wood. Across the street several cords are neatly piled about eight feet high on a wooden platform. There's another tight stack on pallets alongside their porch. And yet another one next to their shed. By virtue of many hours of splitting and stacking by our energetic neighbor, minimally assisted by the older of his five kids, the heap of loose logs that was dumped in their driveway in midsummer has been transformed into these ideal symbols of a traditional New England lifestyle. And our neighbors probably feel pretty good when they look out the window, too. They're ready for winter before summer's even passed. (And they're relying on a renewable resource to heat their home.)

We heated with wood when I was growing up, and I have many memories of my dad splitting four-foot lengths into logs that would fit into our wood stove while my sister and I stacked. I can't say these are especially fond memories, though we were able to appreciate the tangible results of our work at day's end: a neat woodpile. I was even less fond of the chore of filling the woodbox. Bark would scrape off on my arms or my clothes, spiders would crawl off the logs, or I'd get an awkward load and drop everything in the snow. I didn't realize it at the time, but it turns out the wood smoke also exacerbated my asthma. So fortunately for my arms and my lungs, my husband and I heat our house with propane. But somehow I don't get the same satisfaction looking at the two white tanks out back as I do when I look across at my neighbor's woodpiles.

Neatly stacked woodpiles
surround the house, awaiting
winter's arrival.

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