I took a break from raking leaves to stack wood. I had two and a half cords delivered Monday. I arrived from work in the late afternoon, changed clothes, ate an apple and some cider, and got to work. It’s a lot of wood for one guy to move. Here you see it, dumped in front of the shed where I would store it:
I had asked a friend for a hand, promising pizza and beer, and he sounded agreeable. After half an hour, as I began to strain and sweat, I sensed he was a no-show. This premonition proved correct; in fact, I still haven’t heard from him. I would have welcomed his help, but neither did I mind working myself. There’s appealing simplicity in this job, clarified further when one works alone. The pile took shape quickly:
One cord of wood measures four feet high and deep by eight feet long. Depending upon species, a dry cord weighs a bit over three thousand pounds. The wood in my driveway, then, probably totaled eight thousand pounds. That’s good exercise.
I hoped to stack everything in one stretch, mainly as a challenge. The sun set, so I moved the Jeep nearby and shone the headlights. I put Johnny Cash on the radio and kept going. The work becomes hypnotic, almost inducing a trace: gather an armload, heave a little to stand, five paces to the shed, stack, five paces back, gather an armload, heave a little, five paces, stack, pace, gather, heave, pace, stack, pace, repeat, repeat, repeat. The wood thuds and clatters into place, releasing an earthy, faintly spicy scent. Every so often, I admire the firewood:
I packed wood to the rafters. I thought about the frozen January days when the pile begins running low. I thought about snow. I thought about the mice that explore the endless crevices between these logs, building nests of straw, leaves, and stray feathers. I discover the little nests as winter progresses. I thought about how I love the burning stove. I thought about how my two dogs loved it, basking side by side in the fire’s glow. I thought about how I’ll miss the dogs this winter.
I did not succeed in stacking the entire two and a half cords in one stretch. If it weren’t for the darkness and my work in the morning (this was, recall, Monday evening), I think I could have done it. Instead, I did a little under two cords, then, very hungry, treated myself to the pizza and beer. I finished the next day.
I can’t wait for winter.