This piece is dedicated to Jacqui Hatzell for following my words and knowing so well what I am trying to say! Thank you friend!!!
September 27, 2015
Indian Divide, NM
I just walked past the wood pile and wished again that I had brought my chainsaw. Hard as it may be for some people to believe I can’t think of anything I would rather do today than to add to the supply. There is so much to be said for the effort. First off I like to have my stash well filled in the event of a hard winter, which this one promises to be. If I am here I will be certain to be warm and safe if nothing else. I can heat the house, cook my food, and boil my tea and bath water with no more effort than building a fire. There is nothing else I have to have to survive. The lanterns, candles and generator power provide for my light and I am all set.
There is more to the wood getting though. Although there is already an ample pile of cut and split wood there is also a stack of mixed pieces which still need to be cut to length, split and piled. I have whittled away at it for the last three years as I have been back and forth from other places but it would be nice to have it all put in its proper place. Then too I want to go to the fields and cut more walnut and cedar. I love the work itself, the roar of the saw, the crack of the wood and the muffled clunk of the pieces as they stack up against each other. The fresh breeze on my skin as it dries my sweat is a gentle caress and the thrill of it is unequaled by almost anything else. The final effort of filling the truck and stacking the wood at my house is the just reward. So often the latter is done by the fading light of the sun, or even in the dark, but it is a good way to end my day. I will grab a few pieces to heat my bath water and commend myself for the effort!
I often wonder what my life would be like if that was all that I had to do to survive. I have lived that way in the past and I yearn for the same. My children can tell you of the years they spent helping me gather wood and how much work it was. I enjoyed it more than they did though they both do the same when they can. My oldest lives a more favored life but would love to share the experience with his children, my youngest has a wood stove, a saw and a splitter and is grateful for them all. For so many years we heated and cooked with wood and I miss the simplicity as I do little else. For me it represents so many of the goals I have based my life on and it has yet to fail me. I wonder sometimes what will happen when I can no longer provide for myself but I am not there yet, it just hurts a little more than it used to.
My life has always been based on the principle that ‘less is more”, as long as I have enough wood. I don’t want or need all of the luxuries most people require and have no desire to make the sacrifice of time and effort to attain them. Still, I am as caught in the effort towards their attainment as everyone else is as there are things we all must have. I could not live without a job or a vehicle and my cell phone and computer are necessities as well. Even if I could live here full time, as I so aspire to do, those items would remain a constant and they force me to have an income. There are other things I can do to produce that, and I will find that path again, but it takes an equal effort. The less money I make the more time it takes to make it and that leaves so little time for wood cutting, or anything else. I would not change the adventure or the experience I have had over the last few years of my life but neither do I wish to continue on that path. If I could return today to the simple effort of survival this place has to offer there is little question what the answer might be. I wood.