As others golf, fish or hunt, play pool, throw darts, my alter ego is the woods. A short list: firewood, lumber, sugaring, walking sticks, owls, scat, birdhouses, bird nests, woodpeckers, trails, bridges, treehouse, deer stands, orchids, trout, white pine, solomon’s seal, hemlock, red oak, maple, trilliums, skunk cabbage, mosses, hollow trees, burls, wind, no wind, snow, rain, mushrooms, tracks, beetles, ants, grubs, stone flies, coyotes, pileated, death, rot and princess pine.
I confess that tamarack is firewood when the nephews visit mid-summer with their kids. My city nephews and nieces, who in accord with a well-known American pattern of camping, bring along fireworks, after all it’s camping.
Not that I mind, still after a while I don’t need any more firecrackers under camp chairs or under a plate of potato salad. It is true I do see God’s grace as potato salad and it’s not expendable. Put a firecracker under the Pietà or a Picasso but not my potato salad.
To deploy tamarack is to seek vengeance, innocently mingled among the firewood. My nephews are Bears fans and true to character don’t do firewood themselves. They actually hire day-labor to supply their house with both lawn care and firewood, truth being I wouldn’t trust my chain saw to my nephews anyway.
So there it is, a nice pile of firewood, cut to length, neatly stacked, ready for their pleasure, it gets cool after all up in the Wisconsin after dark. Nice to have a fire to cozy up next to.