Winter?

Posted by Ken Campbell February 3, 2014 0 Comment 1746 views

It’s been a warm start to February. It is unlikely to last, but I am enjoying it for now. The tidal exchanges have been big this week, salty wavelets licking against the pilings of my shed, then water flowing northward so fast it seems like I can almost hear the rapids ahead. The tide level drops, out past the house, past the edge of the neighbor’s deck and out to the pair of pilings well off from the shore, the last remains of something or other. The energy involved in this process defies my reasoning. I know the weather will not last, but I’m making a conscious effort to immerse myself in it while it’s here, and breathe deeply.

From where we were as we climbed the trail this morning to get Micah to school, the Olympics seemed to utterly dominate the northwest skyline. A few days of new snow had turned them from shaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdowy black to glowing jagged summits of white sugar. It’s a reminder that the warm spell is only holding a place for the winter that is yet to come. (Curse you, Puxatawney Phil.) It would behoove me to split some firewood this afternoon… Mr. Woodstove is still a long way from his summer vacation.

And sometimes the wood that comes in on these high, high tides is good burning stock, and we save those pieces and round them and split them when we can. The pieces that I’m going to set aside today will be fuel for next winter’s fires. This harvesting of wood is a way of planning for the future while savoring the present, and once in a while catching a glimpse of the past.

Some of these drift logs have been out here for decades, beached for a few years on some random strand, then pulled out to sea again. Floating through the seasons, finally running ashore hundreds – maybe thousands – of miles from where they began. Sometimes, when you split them and the grain that is exposed is clear and tight, the fibers straight and blemish-free, you realize that you are looking at a fragment of one of the old ones, harvesting the tides for the remains of the ancients.

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