How Spring Came to the River Tops

I’d left the block of wood to age and mellow. I couldn’t split it with an ax. It seemed too large and knotty for use as firewood.DSCN3864

Weeks later I took the ax and swung again. The impact on my hands stung like iron. I attacked the piece from another angle, swung the weapon into stone. Even with the maul and wedge, I could not diminish the wood nor ease frustration building up within.

I saw a mourning dove fly over, a lone bird in the cold, clear air. It seemed like a sign, a messenger from beyond. It said that my thoughts were winter dead; my brain was a block of ice.DSCN3850

Of course! I’d been standing right in front of me. I’d been blocking clear perception of the moment. The damned wood block needed nothing more! No splitting, whittling, or sawing, no cursing, yelling, or dynamiting.

The ax and maul and wedge were friends. They had shaped my senses, finally. They had built a gentler day.

The wood block was complete, an entity free from scheming mind. I hauled it feather-light to the stove and shoved it in. It might have taken a minute or an hour or a day, but the wood block started burning.DSCN3881

Energy was released, and there was heat.

The sun was new and quiet. It was shining from above.DSCN3300DSCN3859

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About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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6 Responses to How Spring Came to the River Tops

  1. Junior says:

    Where was the final picture taken?

  2. Junior, that’s the field beyond your grandmother’s place.

  3. Yeah it was cold when I walked there but the field is protected by surrounding woods, and the southern exposure reflected some comforting heat.

  4. Alan says:

    I think we here have turned the page on winter, and I for one am happy.
    Healthy deer.

  5. Alan, you & me & the deer & probably a whole lot more– happy, happy….

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