Chopping Wood

It is a cold morning in late January. Since wood is the only source of heat I use at this time of year I need to grab my hat and coat and head out to the woodpile in order to warm my home. As I feel the cool air I pause momentarily, realizing my relationship to the cold, the warmth of the fire and the wood. It is a relationship as old as the first humans who gathered by a fire to keep safe and ward off the chill of the night. Now, as then, if I don’t go out and return with my sling of wood, it will be a long cold day. In this simple relationship, my actions have a direct and immediate consequence.

Yet this is a relationship that we in much of the Western world sought to eliminate in the last century, when we brought central heat into our homes. No effort need be expended. No pause to acknowledge of our relationship to the world. Just a spin of the thermostat and the inconvenience of experiencing cold is eliminated. No wonder we respond like petulant children when our link to the blandness of perpetual comfort, the global oil pipeline is threatened. Continue reading