Full cold steady stare of white moon’s face illuminates our wood room filling adventures.
Sparkling snowflakes gleam against dark evergreens like fireflies. Soft and alive and diamond, then gone.
We crank open the heavy wood room door. An endless winter chore. Three and a half tall rows of split wood must be hauled in from the tidy silver tarp-covered wood pile and stacked in our wood room.
We fill the unfinished wood room after dark. It takes three nights because we’re–dare I label it?–almost elders. It takes middle-aged folks longer than spry young’uns. We fill maybe an inside row each evening with the heavy maple logs. (In our pioneer youth with willing children, if we were lucky to get willing children to help, we did this in a night. I swear it was so.)
Sometimes we’re talkative. Other times we’re silent, each lost in moonlit thoughts.
I wear high warm boots and Grandma’s 1969 snowmobile suit and warm tight waterproof mittens my mother knit back in the same era. After Barry shovels off snow from the tarp, he crawls tentatively back in the wood room on his newly replaced knees and I lug firewood to the open door.
Inside the basement, behind closed inside door, wood stove motor hums. A warm glow spreads out from our porch light illuminating the woods.
I like this work.
A steady rhythm of gathering the firewood in arms, feeling its heft, its weight, its beauty, its warp, its weave of bark and fiber. A steady dance of transferring the firewood into my husband’s awaiting arms. A steady transfer of trees into heat.
We know where our heat comes from. It comes from the bodies of waving leaves, from the sturdy roots of the earth, from the song of a half-century of straining toward sunlight.
It comes from our own sweat, our muscle, our work. It’s a work punctuated with snowflakes and moonlight and sometimes silly jokes.
In all these years we’ve laughed, we’ve dropped logs on inappropriate human limbs, we’ve cursed, we’ve delighted in a full wood room.
Last night the fourth fingernail on the right hand tore under the weight of some errant log. The tear runs sideways, halfway up the fingernail. How did this happen? Now my fingernail is bandaged and types awkwardly. I do not notice it much. I hope it will not rip off during an inopportune moment or decide to hurt.
Tonight, after the sun sets, after the moon rises, we’ll turn on our deck light once again and trek outside to finish off piling split firewood logs in our wood room, the sound of logs clinking against other logs like bowling pins, that crack sharp and sweet signifying blessed heat, blessed winter warmth.