Thursday, March 14, 2013

Carry Wood, Melt Snow




















Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

The logs have been cut to just
the right size to fit,
length wise,
into the wood stove.

I prefer the burn of oak –
it is clean and hot.

You don’t need much.

But it’s true that other trees
fall in the disheveled woods:

Hickories and poplars
for the most part.

At field edge:
red cedars and black locusts.

And there is my grove
of beloved black walnuts.

Losing one of them is like
a gasp,
a heart break,
a prayer that this is the last.

It’s not. Not yet.

I’m not to be spared.

So trees that once spoke in
the language of all things
that sway,

burn at my hand.

I don’t take this lightly.

I ask permission.

I say thank you.

I listen for their stories
when they spit and whistle,
and the cast iron pings.
Occasionally, I’ll tell their stories
to someone else.

Like I am, now.

In this poem.

But I don’t want to remark
just about
the trees,

Because when the snow storm
knocks the power out for days,

I must also talk of snow
and how it melts in old skillets
upon the wood stove,
where a remembered forest
is burning.

Sometimes it boils
its own narration.

Fire and water.

Somehow nature always finds
a way to urge us to bring
the elements
into balance.

“Come back to the basics,”
She says.

Simple.

I do this for hours:

Carry wood.

Melt snow.

Carry wood.

Melt snow.

And I realize that I’ve forgotten
everything that seemed
worth a thousand revisted thoughts
before the lights went out.

©2013/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Snow Days: Reflections by Candlelight" (a work in progress)

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