In my family, someone always has to be camp squaw. Leaving the linguistic debate aside, this is the person who does the food prep/cleaning/general upkeep of the campsite. These days, I’m finding the role to be pretty fitting.
Wood is a huge part of life here. Most people have wood stoves, and the procurement, curing, stacking, maintenance, movement and use of firewood is pretty all-consuming. Although I don’t think we’ll use the black pot-bellied behemoth that was my constant companion during the winter months soon, I decided our indoor wood store should be restocked.
Normally, this is a two person job, in which one person uses a leather sling to carry wood from the outside pile to the “wood hole” (for lack of a better term). This is, well…a hole in the house made explicitly to get wood inside more efficiently.
Being solo, I moved the wood from the main stack to the back of the raised shed adjacent to the house; then moved it in through the back door, through a narrow walkway, across the back porch and into the storage area. Not the quickest, but it worked pretty well.
Nevertheless I found myself rushing. Trying to hurry through a task that was pretty much the only thing left on my schedule for the day.
After slugging a few of the larger pieces up onto the deck I stopped. I took a deep breath and inhaled dry, dusty pine air. The dirt and the effort reminded me of summers spent at Black Butte for family reunions, long backpacking trips with my dad, and the last time he, my grandfather, brother and myself got to camp together.
I slowed down. I said thank you for this incredible space. For the opportunity to move wood. For the chance to remember. For this house, for the beauty within it, and the meditation on a simple task well done.