Oak logs burned in the fire pit. In the sky geese flew toward Thomaston, south, toward the warmth. I did that once. Now I double hunker down. The virus and subzero wind chill my reasons. Geese fly but don’t wear masks. Not so far anyway. Next year? who knows. At the end of 2021 Geese might be wearing masks and I might fly south again. My gaze drops from the sky to the flames. I toast my palms over burning oak.
The tree guy left us with lots of oak. It seasoned naturally. It dried where it stood until he cut it. From a bucket twenty foot up he removed limbs and branches. His delicate ballet in the bare canopy dropped a chord’s worth of oak to the ground. I dragged logs up the drive. After I’d quit twitching I used my new electric chain saw. It did an impressive job – even on oak. A new axe and some effort split logs into sticks. Oak splits beautifully. It burns well too. The Cadillac of camp wood I suppose.
Just as I’ve let the hair on my head run riot, the trees on the family finca have had their way. Acorns and apples as nature intended cover the ground. Keeping the driveway and power line safe from falling timber prompted us to part with the $$. The tree person being worthy of his wages. Difficult to put a price on living pre electric for a week as we did in the spring just past.
In my imagination, I join the ancients around the fire, gathered for warmth. But it was more than warmth to them. More than cooking and heat treating materials they had access to. Stones split by fire becoming tools. Sharpened sticks hardened by flame. There was something intangible aswell. For them then as for me now there is a mystery in the flames. Something akin to the computer screen but more subtle. In Doggerland, that Atlantis of the north sea, they must have sat as I do and thought. Twenty-five thousand years ago they’d have thought about the tribal politics in their area. They might have wondered why the Gods had sent a new virus to decimate the people. Technology too had its place in their reverie. Those new spear points for fishing!, what will they think of next. Made of bone and barbed so the fish stays speared. Its all in the fire, their thoughts and mine.