We've welcomed November! Let's celebrate with a few ordinary acts of paying attention to the ways earth's crammed with heaven in this season. Here's some suggestions to get you started this week, no matter where you live.
-- Wood-Cutting Days --
I will never, ever forget stacking wood for my family's stove and furnace each autumn. My brother and I (ostensibly) helped my Dad carry the wood inside from the driveway where it had been dumped in a giant, splintery pile. My Dad would load up our arms, and we'd whine and complain all the way into the dark basement to stack the chopped pieces against the wall in just the perfect pattern so the pile would stand squarely and not tumble down onto the concrete floor.
I should say I whined. My brother was practically perfect in every way, so he probably didn't whine at all.
I remember being annoyed with the way bits and pieces of wood shavings would get caught in my gloves and poke through the flannel work jacket. I remember sweating through my hood or knitted hat, even though it was cold enough outside to see my breath. Worse, I remember the dread of picking up a piece of wood to discover some little field mouse had hitched a ride into our cellar.
But I also remember the good endorphins of that sort of exercise. Above all, I remember the crackly pops of not-quite-dried logs burning in our fireplace, and the secure feeling of a warm living room. This experience is one of the closest I'd ever had to "living off the land" -- getting an immediate sense of well-being as a result of a short chain of efforts: a woodcutter, my Dad and us grumpy woodstackers, keeping the family warm.
Splitting Wood by Claire Guerreso
Listen to my always-evolving Autumn playlist on Spotify
Stacking Wood from Olive Us