it takes a long time to move and stack a cord of wood. i know. i just spent two hours stacking half a cord of wood and moving the other half into the back yard. i doubt that my method was the most efficient at getting the job done. it was only me, my arms and legs… oh, and back, the twinges tell me not to leave them out.

the person we bought the wood from dropped the truckload off around noon today. the sun was shining and the sky was blue, and brian had started in on the huge pile, stacking some, but mostly just throwing it from the alley into our back yard. at 12:30 i went outside and joined him. he had already discarded his down jacket, and i soon followed. moving wood keeps you warm. so as brian tossed chopped logs, i picked them up and worked on the stacks. two at a time, five at a time, whatever moved me in the moment. there was no rhyme or reason to my work, no routine. it just was.

brian left me a bit before one o’clock, so i was left with half the cord of wood still back in the alley. just me and a pile of wood that didn’t seem like it got any smaller with the moving that had already been done. it was okay. the sun was shining, and the work beckoned. i’d try to get the rest of the wood into the yard so we could at least close the gate, but maybe also leave a walkway to get back to the house.

part of the time i stacked, finding pieces of wood that fit together so they wouldn’t topple. two at a time. five at time. more? i don’t know. it was mindless work. stack, walk, stack, walk, stack. then i went to the alley and tossed and hurled wood into the yard. there was nothing else going on. an occasional car would slowly ride by, but mostly it was just me breathing, my shoes trudging, and the hollow sound of wood hitting wood punctuating the air. it was as close to silence as i could get. two by two, or three by three, the more pieces i put in my arms, the more i began to care . i found myself literally hugging the trees.

so many different colors and texture, this wood. some not pretty at all, some plain, other types downright beautiful. some of the wood is green, and i asked myself what this means. should i not trust the advertisement that said this wood is all seasoned and ready to be burned?  i also wish i could tell what kind of trees this wood used to be. what is the creamy colored wood with the fine grain and almost black bark? and the pieces that go from light tan of the outer rings to dark red in the center and has smooth, gray bark? is it some sort of red wood? or cherry? it reminds me of the cedar chips i used in the cages for my guinea pigs when i was growing up. but it doesn’t smell anything like them. and why is the light colored wood as light in weight while the red wood is so heavy? these questions move back and forth in my mind just as i go between the pile of wood and the yard, back and forth, back and forth. i wish i knew the answers. but i just kept on moving it.

without my coat, i ended up getting cold when i was in the alley where the air moved freely, and my fingers were nearly frozen. then i stopped and began the stacking process again in the back yard where the fences reigned that air in a bit. i warmed up again and my hands stopped aching; i eventually noticed the sun didn’t feel quite so warm and the sky was beginning to turn the color of dirty dishwater. the pile was smaller, but still not small by any means. i had a ways to go.

so it went from 12:30 until 2:30 when finally (finally!) the last of the wood made it into the backyard, and i closed the gate. ahh. work accomplished. my fingers were little stumps of pain and my back didn’t seem to want to hold me erect any more. now it’s 3:30 and my fingers are swollen and my back muscles are on the verge of seizing up, but i can look out the window in the kitchen as i fill my glass with water and see all that stacked wood. i hope it will be as rewarding to dismantle the stacks slowly and burn it.