As I stood waiting for the sun to rise, sipping coffee, with the warm breeze wrapping itself around me, I heard the swans pass quietly overhead. They flew in formation, their wing beats the only disturbance in the pre-dawn silence as I listened to them fade into the distance. What future worlds were they flying into? I looked for a while in the direction they had passed, but it was still too dark to see where they were going, so I turned my attention to the great pile of logs that was in my immediate future.
I put down the cup, picked up the axe and began to prepare for the winter to come – heat and hot water were assured with every log split. I worked steadily and more confidently, as the light grew, until I had a good pile ready for stacking.
I went to the stove and brewed a coffee. As I looked out the window at the two piles, I realized I still had a long way to go. Knowing this I sat in a comfy chair, sipped coffee and listened to the quiet, And noticed it was no longer quiet – the world was awake and the birds were giving it socks in the garden – one Robin stood on my fresh pile of logs and belted out his challenge, threatening to take-on all and sundry, purely for the hell of it, high on the joy of life and the vigor of youth. I watched him and smiled – his future was a summer of love, raising a family, defending his territory and collecting food for his brood and partner – he had his work cut out for him.
I pondered the passage of time and how events unfold, for better or worse and how we deal with them, before wandering back to the wood pile. Now that the sky was bright I could see each log clearly as I picked it up and split it. There was Ash, Hazel, Whitethorn, Blackthorn and some Beech. I became attentive.
The ash was beautifully spalted; the whitethorn was a kaleidoscope of golden hues; the blackthorn was deep red at its centre, turning to purple as the colour radiated out from the heart of the wood. And, the beech? It took my breath away.
As I worked I became more enamored of the wood, and I could see many beautiful objects held within, waiting for someone, more skilled than me, to release – magical works to be offered to a loved one, in adoration and gratitude, to thank them for embellishing a life. And, I imagined an artist cursing me for destroying such beauty, for taking away the opportunity to worship at the feet of an eternal love, of beauty. I consoled myself with the thought that beauty is everywhere and in everything – simply to see and acknowledge beauty is itself an act of adoration.
While I pondered the rain began falling, and it woke me from my reverie. I looked at the pile and noticed it had hardly grown over the last hour, but I had arranged some lovely pieces into a neat little stack. I stood up straight and laughed out loud. Of all the possible futures I had been considering, I had inadvertently wandered into the most absurd of all……
Hmmmm! Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad…….