Monday, November 17, 2008

Bringin' The Wood

Bill Morrissey--"Birches" (mp3)
Neil Finn--"Weather With You (live)" (mp3)

I bought a load of wood yesterday, half a rick. It's one of the things that I like to do best--you know, stand outside on a cold, slightly rainy day, shooting the shit with the guy at the fruit stand who is both selling the wood and living the life that involves selling that wood.

For half a rick, I get to live that life briefly.

Bringing home the wood is among the manliest of endeavors, and that's probably why it's such a special event to those of us with suburban sensibilities.

Of course, I could just sit in your SUV and minivan and let him load the wood, but how pathetic. I've got to do it all.

"How much wood you want?"

"As much as can fit in there," you say, pointing the vast cargo space of your vehicle with the back seat down.

"Looks like she'll take about a half a rick."

"Sound good." And with that, you're in, cheerfully engaged in manual labor that you would dread if you had to do it alone in your own yard. Hmm, let's see, I need load this stack of heavy shit into my car, drive it over there, and then unload it again? Not how I'd typically want to spend my Saturday.

But here there's two of us, and, like the men we are, we take turns loading our own piles of wood into our own arms, maybe trying to outdo the other guy every once in awhile, maybe me adjusting the stack inside the car, just because it is my car. And of course we don't worry about the dirt, leaves, wood chips that fall all over the car.

What I really like is when I get home. I like to pull the car right up in front of the house so that the back of the car is right in front of the porch. And I like to stack up all of my wood, as slowly as I want, a couple of logs at a time, placing each piece strategically so that I slowly build a kind of wood puzzle that is tightly-packed, solid and level, inside the brick porch wall.

The cats, who like all things that are new, are very happy with this new perch.

And, this is just the beginning. Because then I get to carry inside the perfect pieces of wood as the first step in one of man's most primal duties: firestarter.

FOOTNOTE: Not only a great story song, "Birches" also captures the conflict between passion and sensibility in a marriage better than anything I've ever heard (or read). All using a wood-burning metaphor.


"Weather With You" comes from Finn's 7 Worlds Collide; "Birches" is on Bill Morrissey's Night Train. Both are available at Itunes.

3 comments:

Billy said...

I miss this from my youth. I haven't lived in a house with a fireplace since I went to college.

The thing about fireplaces and firewood is, at least for me, I miss it, but not actively. Only being at someone's house, a fire warming many butts, or reading about your own experiences, gets me to think of how much I'd like to have that again.

John said...

And no matter how convenient it is, gas just can't hold a candle to wood. The only thing from my old house next door that I miss.

Bob said...

You both also probably miss, or would if you knew about it, that feeling you get when your daughters simply refer to you as "Firebringer."