If you asked my husband, he
would tell you that I have a
“thing” for kindling and he would
shake his head and wander off.
Practical yes, eccentric,
way yes…but in a harmless
kind of way.
I do have a “thing” for kindling.
I like to be prepared in the boy
scout kind of way. I like to know
that when I wake up in the morning
and our house is 47F inside (yes inside),
that I have plenty of kindling right
there at hand to get my beloved
Queen Atlantic going strong and
ready to heat the house, boil coffee,
cook soup, steam water for humidity
and just be a pleasure to look at in
her glorious antiquity.
Without kindling, that would not happen.
The fact that as of September 6th, Labor
Day in the US of A I have collected
the equivalent of seven 32 gal trash cans
full of kindling and am storing it dry in a
big cardboard box in my basement is
not eccentric really, just highly practical,
thrifty, wise, and well thought out.
I am, however, not done yet. I would
like a second big box full and then I
would rest, for a minute.
Kindling is a gift from the tree spirits
who shed their old branches as
nourishment for the earth. If I collected
all the kindling on our property, I would
have a pile bigger than our 24×30 garage,
so I guess my two big boxes are not going
to hurt the composting process of the rest.
There is something deeply satisfying about
the snap you hear when that bone dry branch
breaks and the physical work of gathering,
hauling, breaking and storing. I feel a deep
connection to the earth, to the simple way
of being that comes from heating with wood,
cooking with wood, and mostly depending
on myself and my husband to make our
life, not have it delivered in a truck. I like
gardening, buying local, supporting farms,
having my own fresh eggs and caring for
the animals who gift us those precious protein
wonders. Just as I like being surrounded
by woods and fields, stones and wildness.
I cannot imagine a life without it all,
even though I curse when I haul warm
water from the house in 5 gallon buckets
for the ducks in the winter, or we get
a Nor’easter and it dumps a foot of snow
and I have to shovel all round the house.
It is a life in keeping with the rhythms of
I do have a “thing” for kindling just as I
have an even bigger “thing” for re-using
paper and materials in new ways.
It all lights my fires, and that is a good “thing”.