Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Spring Ritual: Logs

For many years we have had a logging truck load of firewood delivered at the end of February. We try to time it before the county puts the spring load restrictions on the roads (generally in early March), but after our tax return has arrived. It has become something of a ritual, which (without looking at the dictionary) I would define as an act that is invested with meaning that becomes something of a touchstone in your life over the years.

A logging truck holds 11 cords of wood. A cord is a pile of wood 4'x4'x8'. Wood delivered in the winter is generally cleaner - it carries less sand and mud that will quickly dullen a chainsaw.

It's a pleasure to watch Lindsey operate the grapple arm smoothly and efficiently. I asked him if he played with Tonka toys as a kid, and of course the answer was yes. Machines like this bring out the kid in all of us - I enjoyed just watching it.

A pile of logs has come to symbolize many things to me. First off, it signals the beginning of spring and many evenings of pleasant (up to a point anyway) work with a chainsaw in the lengthening daylight of March and April. It also gives you a visual sense of security - a full pile is two winter's worth of heat. You don't have to wonder about the price of fuel oil, or whether or not your furnace will break down. There is of course much work - sawing, splitting and piling. Some of our sons' earliest memories are of carrying wood from the pile and throwing it into the basement. Still, there is something innately satisfying about working with firewood - you always can see the results of your work and you know that it provides one of your most elemental needs - warmth.

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