Every now and then the wind brings to the Daniel Boonery – the patch of remnant forest guarding the hill – a foretaste of what’s to come and its trees respond with a collective shudder, shedding worn fragments of summer’s glory in showers of brown and ochre, grave clothes for the butterflies that just a few short weeks ago danced in their hundreds over our hillside medder.
I know that Winter’s just behind the north-side hill, urging Fall to get on with it so that he can grab the country by the throat, but I don’t care, for I’ve just finished stacking firewood and there’s only a couple of loads still to come.
In 1822, writing in his forward- thinking and almost prophetic Cottage Economy – an early complaint about globalization and the alienation of the rural worker –that great curmudgeon, literary hammer of Irishman and Methodist alike, William Cobbett noted:
A couple of flitches of bacon are worth fifty thousand Methodist sermons and religious tracts. The sight of them upon the rack tends more to keep a man from…stealing than whole volumes of penal statutes…They are great softeners of the temper, and promoters of domestic harmony.
Well I’m very partial to a bit of smoked hog jowl myself – especially with some murphies and a few green onions – but when reminders of winter or the state of the bank account trouble my thoughts, all I need do is stand in the doorway of the old tobacco shed and my equilibrium is restored.It might’ve been bacon for you, Bill, but for me it’s firewood. A big, fat, stack of firewood.