Zen and the Art of Splitting Firewood


| 4/24/2012 10:50:28 AM


Tags: home heating, firewood, , Cam Mather,

First off, my apologies for using the word “Zen” in the title of another post, especially since I readily admit I am not really sure that I get what “it” is. But since the blog usually chronicles my attempt to attain this Zen-like state, maybe I do.

Years ago I read a John Irving novel called “Widow for One Year.” I’m pretty sure there’s a scene in it (and John Irving fans will correct me if I’ve got the wrong book) where a woman comes upon a man splitting firewood. It is a fairly long section because she seems quite enchanted with this process. There is a real rhythm to it. A purposefulness.

I think of it often as I split wood. I am finished for this year. All my firewood is ready for next winter. This is an OCD sort of thing for me in which I like to have all of my firewood ready to go for the following year, by the end of the current winter. Perhaps I was a squirrel in a previous life, but I find it comforting to know where my heat is coming from next winter. Oh sure, I could go out into the woods at any time, but I much prefer to have it done in advance.

This also allows me to fill up the woodshed so that the firewood can dry well over the summer. I think of my woodshed as a big firewood kiln on those hot summer days, extracting moisture to make it burn even better.


sheila cook
4/27/2012 11:56:11 PM

I agree, there is a feeling of accomplishment in cutting & splitting your own firewood. I was rather offended by the "biker" comment, however. I have to disagree that riding is a "fruitless quest for a rebel past". Both activities offer mental stress relief & after the physical workout of firewood, or any other chores that being a homeowner requires, riding is a nice reward for a job well done. If you think we ride just to be "cool", I won't even try to explain it to you, because you wouldn't understand. Please don't assume that all bikers are people who have more money & spare time than brains, or ability & knowledge to be self sufficent. You should be proud of your woodpile, as we also are of our garden & our pantry of homecanned meats, fish & veggies.




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