Ponder this:

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Last Wednesday I drove home from the office, thinking about the 7:30pm meeting for which I would be returning to work. Thinking, "At least it will still be light enough that slogging out of the house to the car to leave for work for a second time today won't feel quite so bleak." 
I let the dogs out and set about the painstaking task of bringing in a few armloads of firewood. 
Husband established our plan for firewood use: We use the wood from the pile closest to the house and work toward the back, thus taking the oldest and driest wood first. When a new delivery comes, it will be stacked at the front, and then we'll work from the part of the stockpile that is farthest from the house, letting the new stuff age until satisfactory cracks appear, indicating sufficient curing not to gunk up the chimney.
Enough of the oldest wood has been used now that access to the firewood requires me to walk over the wooden pallets that supported the ABB (already-been-burned) fuel. Those pallets are covered with curved shells of fallen bark. Some of the pallets' boards are broken, and some are a little weak . . .  

. . . strong enough to support an evenly distributed weight of firewood but perhaps not reliably structurally sound enough to support the weight of (even very large) feet with concentrated vertical weight atop them.  I step carefully, aiming for the thickest piles of bark, since they distribute my weight over the greatest area of palletage. I place my feet, whenever possible, where the top boards intersect with their supporting joists. I load up my arms with three, four, sometimes five woodstove-size logs and turn, a degree at a time, to return over the pallets to the solid ground of the driveway, thence to the front porch. 
Always, at some point during my travels, I wonder why I didn't slip my cell phone into my pocket . . . just in case I were to break through and do injury to myself.

You think you know what's coming, don't you?

I had completed one successful gathering and was heading back for more wood when I heard...
What was that?
...did I hear...?
Could it be?

I stopped, turned, scanned the treetops.
Far over across the road, in the top of a tree . . . yes! A red-winged blackbird, in his characteristic hunchbacked posture. 
Calling Okaleeeee! Okaleeeeee!   
(The call sounds, to me, like SweeeetBrrrrrrrrrrrSweeeetBrrrrrrrrrrr, but the experts say that what I'm hearing is "Okalee.")
The red-winged blackbirds are back. 
The blackbirds are back!
Good weather is coming.
My pallet-stepping grew more confident and the logs grew lighter as I chose hunks of it to swing, one-handed, up into the load in my left arm.

On Thursday morning I passed a group of three or four crows, one with a tangle of dry grass in its beak: nest-building!
The male woodpeckers are drumming, drumming, advertising for potential females the strength of their beaks. 

It will be weeks before the woodshed becomes an unimportant feature of my day-to-day life. But oh! it's coming!
Spring is coming.

The little birds have told me.


Inay said...

When hopes spring forth and believed in it.....it pumps like an adrenalin to our vain....
Believing does helps renewed some corner that creeps and lurks....
and it shines upon us like a new life has just begun......
God bless you.....

Jinksy said...

The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.

YOu certainly managed it with this post! :)

Fran Hill said...

I could almost hear the birds!

Betsy Banks Adams said...

What a neat post, June. I was so afraid that you were going to fall down when picking up the wood.... Glad you didn't!!!!

Isn't it great to SEE Spring coming????? Glad your Red-winged Blackbrids are back!!!!! That's a good sign. For us--it's the first Crocus blooms (which are happening for us now).... Yeah!!!!

You asked about Cosby. Cosby is on the far-east-side of the Smokies. It's very mountainous and rustic --and not so 'touristy'... BUT--you are close enough to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge IF you wanted to go there. We love Cosby. The cabin we go to is a rental.. But--the lady in charge (Pattie) may help you with housing if you want to call her. Check out the cabins at: http://www.serenityfallscabins.com/

We totally RECOMMEND Cosby and the cabin.

Barb said...

Hi June, So, I see you are having a workout session daily, too. Weight-lifting and walking the balance beam... Surely your birds can't be wrong - spring must be in the air! Have a happy weekend.

Autumn Mist said...

So glad spring is finally on it's way to you, too. What a long winter it's been. Glad you didn't fall over on the pallets. I am always worried my foot will go through the gaps and I'll be trapped and in agony!

Wanda..... said...

You live my life June...we have wood stacked old to new by the basement door and I saw my first Bluebird of the season this morning, plus I've got Wrens building a nest in my awning and the Cardinals seem to be playing tag! Spring!

June said...

Inay, it is hope-inspired adrenalin indeed!

Jinksy, thanks. The joy of common things...tasks accomplished...a pleasing sound or sight...are often not well-enough appreciated, I think.

Fran...I fixed the link, so now you can hear the blackbird!

Betsy! Husband is making plans to travel to TN on business...could be the beginning of The Great Southward Move! Cosby sounds like what we would like, and I thank you for the insider view.

Barb...yes, I like to think of it as the kind of old-fashioned workout that our forebears had daily...just making life livable. Not sure it really does me any conceivable good, but I can pretend.

Autumn, it has been a long and dreary winter, and the sound of that bird...I always seem to hear the first redwinged blackbird just as I am getting home from work...just flooded me with relief and joy.

Wanda! It's coming! We've almost made it! Isn't it wonderful????

Von said...

Hooray!Sring! Just as you're stopping your visits to the woodpile I'll be starting.The wood shed is up the driveway, fortunately downhill with a full barrow is not so hard.Looking forward to the first fire of the season, cosiness and soup.
Simple things=great pleasure

June said...

Von, it's so funny that you're looking forward to fires, and "cozy" and soup! That's exactly how I felt last October! Now I'm so sick of it all I could barf.

Doctor FTSE said...

I saw your wonderful list of words on "Fridge Soup" Or do I mean your list of wonderful words? Was this BBC Series ever screened in the USA? Some of your resonant polysyllables featured on it.

All good wishes.

June said...

Doctor, I have never seen that and I would love to! I'll have to check PBS (Public Broadcasting System) to see if they've ever aired it. That's the only source here for such entertainment. And that says something about American taste. :-\

Lord Wellbourne said...

The Red Wing Black Birds do, indeed, say Sweeeet Burrrrr. I hear them nearly every afternoon now and they converse with the crows and chick-a-dees. I don't care what the 'experts' say. They're not listening properly--just like most 'experts'. I believe "okalee" is red wing for 'numbskull'.