The clouds parted and the sun shined on our little house in the big woods. Lance has been waiting for the snow to melt off the barn roof so he could get to work on the solar panels. He got started back in December when we had a few days of unseasonable warmth. The barn has been snow-covered since then, until today. He had his whole day planned, outside.
Not wanting to miss out on the sunshine, his company and fresh air, I decided to chop some wood. I say that like I know what I’m doing. I do not. I think my wood chopping desire came from a Facebook post of a friend in Wyoming. Judy and her hubby, Jimmy, are fellow Alabama escapees. She’s got one more year of rural western living under her belt than I do. Last fall I asked her if they had a log splitter. She said yes, Jimmy has one named Judy and Judy has one named Jimmy. Ha!
Before you get too excited about learning how to chop wood (ladies), let me stop you right here. I suck at chopping wood. At least my first day on the job I did. I was in the wood shed filling up our kindling box to take inside. Lance pointed to a pile of old pieces of wood and told me I could bring those in the house and he’d chop them up. I chimed in, “or maybe I can chop them”. I set my mind on splitting wood. I whacked, I smacked and I chiseled that wood into many pieces. I got really excited when I hacked the wood in 2 pieces with one fell swoop. I completely missed my target a couple of times (in golf that’s called a whiff, I wonder what it’s called in wood chopping). One swing not only missed the wood but my follow through came right down on my ankle. What’d I do? I quickly looked around to see if anyone was watching that stupid move. Next I sat down before I fell down. OUCH, that really hurt.
All morning I was worried about Lance being high on the roof, stooping, climbing, bending. We often joke that telling someone to ‘be careful’ is really dumb. Like they were planning to be reckless if you hadn’t reminded them to be careful? So who ends up hurting themselves, ME. In a few minutes Lance comes by and comments on how much I seem to be enjoying the wood chopping and would I like to use an ax. What? I thought I was using an ax. Turns out it was a hatchet. ‘Well, sure,’ I say.
Woe, that ax was big, long and heavy. I get a quick demo from a former wood chopping champion. Let the momentum do the work. Easy for him to say. I wait till he’s not watching and swing, swing, swing away. It’s a good thing I hit my ankle with a mere hatchet. That incident caused me to be more careful with the monster ax. I did manage to split one log into several slender pieces of wood. You can imagine my pride. That’s hard work. I’m gonna be sore tomorrow (and limping, too).
While looking for a good quote on wood chopping, I stumbled across a zen saying.
“Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.”
It was a fun day outside attempting to be helpful. It’s the every day moments of life where the real magic is hiding.