Sonnet in Iambic Pentameter: Solstice Evening Fire
Solstice Evening Fire
Rick's split and seasoned fir and birch is stacked
Beneath the stairs. From upper picture windows
We see silver snow-clouds slowly sweep a storm
Along the Thompson Valley south to high
Sahali, til moonrise buffs the skies. The moon
Is full tonight. Behind Apostles' Mountains
Light pours every luminous valley bright
With snow. At end of day our sated dogs,
Who ran the sandy flats at river's shore
In early dusk, surrender now to sleep
On dark wood floor. They warm their flanks by fire,
Dreaming of the chase. Nearby, in flickering russet
Light, marshmallows toast on short-tined
Forks. We bask in every hue of gratitude.
A Cord of Firewood
Seasoned Firewood: Backstory to the Sonnet
We left the temperate rainforest of the coast for the dry, cold winters of the Interior of British Columbia when we moved from Vancouver to Kamloops. By December, the cold winds blew down the Thompson River Valley, freezing the river, and for the first time I was living in a home with a fireplace. I had never bought firewood before, but I wanted some now.
In the local community paper I saw a classified ad: Firewood for sale, seasoned and delivered. Birch, fir and pine.
I called the number. Rick lives near Napier Lake on a woodlot out of town, and cuts firewood in the summers, piles it covered so it can dry, and delivers it by the cord the following year.
Best Wood for Firewood
"How much is your firewood?" I asked.
"$175 a cord for pine, 200 for birch and fir mixed, 225 for birch. It’s all seasoned, burns easily, and I can deliver it tomorrow morning."
"What’s the best wood?" I asked him.
"Most people like birch, because the bark catches easily, it burns without sparks, and doesn’t leave as much ash. Fir is also good--it catches fire easily, but leaves more ash than birch. Lots of people don’t like pine too much since it has a lot of creosote, can smoke, and leaves smudge in your chimney. Your chimney will need to be swept more often, but pine is cheaper up front."
A Cord of Firewood
I decided on a mix of birch and fir, and the next Saturday morning before 10 am I had a cord of firewood piled on my frozen lawn. This is the volume of wood that, once it is stacked neatly, makes a wood pile 4 feet wide, 4 feet high, and 8 feet long. It filled the back of Rick’s flatbed dump truck, covered with a black tarpaulin to keep it dry while he drove into town. Once we had decided where to dump it, I stood aside to watch him winch back the tarp on its storage reel, tilt the bed, and dump the tumbling pieces on the snow. I paid him $200, and before he drove away, he gave me a dozen free range eggs from the chickens he kept on his property.
"I also keep chickens. Try some eggs. Here’s my card. Let me know if you want more."
I spent the rest of that Saturday stacking the wood beneath the stairs, sheltered from the weather so it would stay dry. I lit our first fire that night, kindling the dry wood with scrunched up newspaper. No need to chop kindling, for the splintery fir and the birch bark caught easily. We spent the evening in quiet peace, playing Monopoly in front of the hearth, enjoying the pleasures of winter in a frozen northern landscape.
Gratitude is an attitude that lifts us from sadness to joy. Here's a blog post from Life as a Human worth reading.
- Gratitude: Smiling from Inside Out
Expressing gratitude is one of the simplest things we can do for ourselves that is completely free and within our grasp.