The Art of Stacking, new year’s day

January 1, 2010
The Art of Stacking

You might recall a song I did several years ago on “Tap the Kaleidoscope”, a song about a healing day spent splitting wood with Bobby Joe Baxley, one of my dearest friends in the world. Well, a couple of days ago, I had another such day. We were in the same field, at the farm of another dear friend Donna Rittiner, where a massive red oak recently blew over. (Our southern soil is saturated with record rainfall at present and roots have difficulty holding to the ground.) The cool, clear day was a mirror image of the one in the song. And equally as therapeutic, especially after the busyness of the holidays.
Today, New Year’s Day, I went to gather up a truck load of the wood that we had split and left on the ground. (Donna was kind enough to help me.) It’s new wood so it will have to sit for a year, drying out, before it can be used for firewood. I stacked it with some wood that I cut last summer, also to be burned in fall/winter 2010.
There is, of course, a certain randomness to the whole stacking process – you just put the wood pieces on top of one another, at the first and most obvious available space. If one has time, though, as I did today, to be a bit more methodical, the stacking almost becomes an act of artistry, in which one finds the best gap for a particular stick of wood, thinking beauty rather than mere function. The stack becomes something of a sculpture, even if it is one destined for destruction. It’s Lego blocks for adults.
I could hardly have enjoyed a New Year’s day more than I did this one. I dedicate today’s monument to the new year, an act of faith which can foresee an evening 12 months or so from now when these very logs will light the fire beside which I read, pray, or nap.