Wednesday, 12 January 2011
Look at this!
How I wish I could convey the smell, the rich, deep aroma of freshly cut wood.
I've written about my meaningful relationship with my woodburning stove previously. I can only say that this winter the relationship has grown deeper and more profound.
There is something wonderfully basic about having a store of fuel. Not just having it, but making it, handling it, stacking it, fitting it into the space, then shutting the door, keeping it dry, knowing it's there.
Last year I emptied the woodstore.
Last year, the last days of the year when the mercury fell so far in the tube I thought it had vanished.
The last days when nine small roach got trapped in the ice of the garden pond and died there. If they'd had the sense to stay at the bottom of the pond they would have been safe. But they didn't.
The heron, being fed on tinned sardines, rammed his beak into the ice again and again to get the untinned fish, but couldn't reach them. He sat, hunched just outside the window, too dispirited to fly away.
The last days when my sons finally arrived safely for Christmas and managed to break two toboggans (but luckily no bones) on the dramatically beautiful slopes of the hills.
The days when my guests wrapped themselves in duvets inside the house during the day-time, and when we all sat as close as possible to the wonderful little Danish stove.
It felt like all the magic of winter story-land, Snow Queens and Ice Maidens, and only a real, living, flickering fire could quell the cold and darkness of December nights.
By the end of the year the woodstore was empty, and I even bought some of those orange nets of logs from the filling station to keep the home fire burning.
So at the turn of the year the first task was of replenishment.
There was a window of opportunity, a couple of days of dry air and weak sunshine, and I sat in the woodstore, building my mosaic against the months of cold and darkness still to come.
A protection as old as time.
An achievement so basic it stirs the blood, and appeals to all the senses.
Keeping the darkness at bay.