The winter firewood came today, three face cords worth, and stacking it had its usual perspiratory pleasure.
What it made me think of was The Odyssey (we’ve been listening to Ian McKellen’s superb rendition) and that incredible moment when Telemachus and Odysseus recognize each other in the hut of Eumaeus the swineherd. I see their amazed reunion as taking place beside a blazing fire in the center of the shelter, an open hearth, and just imagining the scales falling from the eyes of son and father makes me shiver. Fires have been witness to the most sublime moments of history, and the worst.
“Chop your wood,” said Thoreau in Walden, “and it will warm you twice.” Or thrice, with the memory of the fire afterward, or four times, with the heating pad on your back. Bring on winter. Our bear of a fireplace is ready.