Green blessings – with frosty edges.
It is finally cold. Really cold. Wintery cold. Frozen north cold. Freeze your cheeks off cold.
Last night it got down to 12 degrees below zero Farenheit. Today it “warmed” up to 11. Warm enough for me and my gym partner Yvette to take a walk. Okay, a short walk, but a walk nonetheless. Tonight it is already near zero and the sun has just gone down.
If you have indoor plumbing, then you must heat your house when it is below freezing, as frozen water in the pipes breaks them and creates watery havoc. I heat with wood. No backup, just wood. To keep myself (and my plumbing) warm, I must feed the wood stove.
When it is this cold, I must feed the stove every three hours, all day and all night. After a few days of being awake every three hours, one achieves a dream-like state, a place of heightened awareness, a softening of one’s boundaries. The task takes on a deeper meaning and its story arises, wordlessly.
This year I am burning ash. American white ash. Fraxinus Americana. The royal wood. A valued, prized, firewood. It is said that green ash burns as well as seasoned ash, and that a piece of ash produces more heat for its size than any other piece of firewood. And I have cords of it.
That makes me happy. That makes me sad. I have cords of ash to burn because the emerald ash borer, a small insect, has killed every ash tree in my woods. Sad. I have cords of ash because my neighbor farmer John cut some of the dead trees and, with the help of his horse, brought the logs out, split them, and left them for me to stack. Happy.
Life is not divided into good and bad, positive and negative, nice and naughty. Life is an olio, a mixture, a cauldron swirling with the tides of our changing desires. I heat with wood because it keeps me connected to the plants and their gifts. I heat with wood because it keeps me connected to the earth and her gifts. I heat with wood because it breaks my heart every time I open the stove door and add another of piece of ash to the fire.
It breaks my heart open to life. It breaks my heart open to joy and love. Here is a piece of a tree. It grew from a small seed. Earth fed it. Sun fed it. Mycelium fed it. The wind ruffled its leaves. The rain watered its roots. The birds loved it. Here it is in my hand, going into the fire, to burn, to release the earth, the sun, the mushrooms, the wind, the rain, the birds, to release them as passion, as heat, to keep me (and my plumbing) from freezing.
Green blessings are everywhere.
~ Fifty Years of Justine and Susun - Click Here ~