Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Gods of Fire

Rainy Days, Snowy Days, Bone Chilling Cold Days...

On this cold rainy evening, I'm so thankful for the men in my life who keep me warm.  Some of my earliest childhood memories are associated with fire.  I would hear the clank of the furnace as Dad stoked the fire.  I never got out of bed until the house was warm if I could help it.  Saturday mornings I would wake to the sound of splitting wood being loaded onto the stack - I still frequently wake up to that sound.  Rainy and Snowy weather has always been my favorite type of weather.  These are days to curl up with a blanket and a good book.  Without the dedication of my "firemen" it couldn't possibly be as cozy. 

No other method of heating a home holds the same kind of toasty real warmth.  I'm always left cold in a forced air "heated" house.  Give me the crackle of some logs and the gentle rising heat of burning wood.  We never worry if the power goes off - no problem.  Who needs electricity to heat?  Not us.  Thanks to the Gods of Fire we're all set.

Hapaestus and Vulcan:  My Gods of Fire
I love the smell of woodsmoke curling out of the chimney when I'm working in the garden on a crisp fall day.  I know that when I go inside I'll be warm and toasty.  I even love the smell of my guys when they return from a successful wood harvest.  Who would believe that Eau de Woodcutter would be an appealing scent?
Woodcutting brings a sense of pride as well. Both Gods of Fire work in the professional world - there's a shortage of opportunities for them to be "manly men" in our modern life.  Here - they have a chance to shine.  That's one childhood job I've gotten out of.... now my children are the wood stackers!  I wouldn't want to sully their manly experience by getting in the way (wink, wink).

So... Thank you.  I don't say it often enough.  But thank you for enduring the heat of the summer, the humidity, the gnats, the sweat.  Thank you for the labor you so willingly put forth.  Heating with wood is not just an environmentally and economical way to heat the house.  It's an expression of love.  You two warm me right down to my toes. 

No - they didn't travel home with the chainsaw on top.

In Honor of the Work You Do and the Love You Show

By Robert Hayden 1913–1980 Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

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