Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ax Head

This image takes me back. Back on Stevens this time of year, the driveway was always loaded with small logs that needed to be cut one, two or maybe even three times. Because I was the oldest and biggest, it was me on the other end of the 8 foot cross-cut saw with Dad. No matter the weather, no matter if I had things to do for myself, once the the truck dumped the logs part of my afternoons and evenings were not mine anymore. One year, Dad even had the large tree next to the garage cut down. At the base, it was about 16 inches diameter. Not an easy task, but with cheap labor, the job got done. After the wood was cut, it needed to be split and stacked. Dad did the splitting, but I watched him intently. Never did I think that this would in anyway, serve me in life, but I was wrong. He taught me where to strike the ax and how to use the steel wedges to crack even the toughest of oak. When it was ready to stacked in the garage, it seemed like a mountain of wood. Now, when it came to stackin', I had an extra set of hands. The younger brother was commissioned by my father to help. As I remember, one year we actually made up a 'baseball game' to get the job completed faster. Two cords of winter wood is, this morning, resting and ready to find its way into the woodshed for another Maine winter. What goes around comes around; I guess you could say.


  1. One of my greatest pleasures is hearing 'the story' of our lives in replay. It never ceases to amaze me that we all lived the same life the same houses(s).. but from many different perspectives. As many as our siblings can tell of each episode; and how it played out in their eyes.
    I loved that tree by the kitchen window. I watched it through the seasons and my moods were brightened by its play of light. Thank you again, dear bro.

  2. This is a beautiful photograph and a warming story. I also love hearing the exchange between siblings. It's so true, cam, my siblings and I could tell different stories about the exact same events. But usually we don't. Your brother does. Lucky, lucky you.

  3. It's a rich, wonderful picture. Thank you for sharing the story as well. It reminds me a little of this poem by Robert Hayden (minus the sharp regret!)--

    Those Winter Sundays

    Sundays too my father got up early
    and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
    then with cracked hands that ached
    from labor in the weekday weather made
    banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

    I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
    When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
    and slowly I would rise and dress,
    fearing the chronic angers of that house,

    Speaking indifferently to him,
    who had driven out the cold
    and polished my good shoes as well.
    What did I know, what did I know
    of love's austere and lonely offices?