Splitting Wood


 have spent the day chopping firewood. The wood came from a willow tree which had blown down in the winds at the end of November last year. I counted the rings near the stump and aged the tree at about 35 years old.

Being outside always makes me feel rejuvenated. It may make me feel physically tired, but mentally I feel more energised and positive. There is much research that has been done on this subject, but there is a difference between reading about the benefits of getting outside, and actually being outside. A difference between learnt knowledge and knowledge gained from experience.

My two invaluable tools for the task are my chainsaw and splitting axe.  I have noticed that hese tools affect my ability to be part of my surroundings outside. My chainsaw is essential, but noisy, and all I can smell is exhaust fumes. I have to wear gloves, use ear protection and wear a chainsaw visor. I feel more disconnected. I then take all the safety equipment off and use my axe to split the logs, and this is different altogether. My senses are more able to tune in to what I am doing. The sound of the axe hitting the log, "thwack-thud", as it cleanly splits it in two. The slightly sweet smell of the wood just after it has been split. The colours of the freshly cut willow: sunrise red, deep orange, yellow-cream, brown.  I take my gloves off to spilt the wood and feel the split logs in my hands. I feel more connected.


All this is done so that we can have a warm house and hot water, as we have a wood-based heating system. But I cannot use these logs for at least a year as they need to season, and that feels like a long time to wait. I am reminded that I cannot bend nature to my will; I cannot burn the logs today as they will burn poorly and not give off much heat. Rather, I have to surrender to nature, and wait until the logs are seasoned, before burning them. Nature teaches me patience...again!