I love to split wood. This is a recently acquired skill. Growing up, turning on the heat meant the flick of a dial. But here, it means coaxing a fire from the wood my husband has located, cut, marked to length, bucked, hauled home, dried, split and stacked. I dove into the woodsplitting game with gusto seven years ago, wielding a maul with much enthusiasm but little skill or strength. I was much more of a menace to myself than to the stubborn rounds of wood that I hacked into ragged chunks. Then I took a long break from the axe during two pregnancies and time spent tending children while my husband shouldered the task of prepping us for winter.
Though unseasonably warm temperatures these past few weeks make it easy to forget the imminence of winter snows, the equinox does not lie. We spent the weekend preparing for winter. I was out there, splitting maul in hand. I love the thwack and pop of an arc that has hit its mark. I found, to my surprise, that the maul did not feel as heavy as in year’s past. I could lift it over my head with ease. I think I have my daughters to thank for this, the four years that my arms have cradled and lifted these babies turned toddlers. A splitting maul is nothing compared with countless trips shuttling these young ones up and down stairs!
And I appreciate the chance to contribute to a task that can be measured in neatly stacked rows. So much household work is effaced in days if not minutes. The clean kitchen dissolves into chaos. Entropy dances across freshly swept floors. But then there is the work of a knit mitten, or a row of wood. These are tangible evidence of time well-spent, working to ensure our family’s warmth in the months to come.