THE MEDITATION OF CHOPPING WOOD

THE MEDITATION OF CHOPPING WOOD

To the wood, the physical practice of chopping wood is the distinction from the hard, and blood scenting brace of cold iron — the blade of the ax — to the splitting wet of the wood that is new, and just fallen.

And older timbers, that have lain, warmed and dried over time — the sound and meditation is about the nature of the arcing swing, and the split, just so.

There are others woods that are fungi-tinted, and smell of the deepest forest — cutting them, the blade slides into the wood, and the moisture expresses from the grain, run vertical — looking up at you.

When you swing the ax — even if this might be in the wrist flick of the gripped gesture, the precision meets sound, cracking — and the burst of scent that comes out.

I cut four grains of wood — the pitch-burst hemlock, the old maple, the orange-barked madrona, the cedar, western red — and in each, I can hear that sound, each, another interpretation — and each, a varying scent as to where they’ve been, and from whence they are born.

As I make a fire, in the old stove — peering in, through the glass — getting the right piece in play, burning just right, the pitch heats up, the bark blackens, and I get it on my hands.

I can smell the taste of the cold iron of the axe blade, the oaken handle, the resins of the wood, and the burnt edge of the fire — all combined, making one profound scent.

The ancient fire — a maker, wood cutter, forest rover — carries that back: the smell of smoke together, glinting spark and the tar of trees, smeared in the memory of mind.

Tim
….
GIRVIN | THE GLINT OF FIRE

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