It’s been a long winter. Here, in the middle Midwest, we are not used to having much in the way of snow and cold. Usually we just get a snow or two, and a little frigidness now and then. It always seems cold here because we have a dampness to our winter weather, bone chilling we call it.
After a near record seasonal snow fall and near record below freezing and often below zero temperatures, winter is letting go! The last snow has melted and the woods is hovering between winter and bursting forth with greenery. Its that time of year I get anxious to “get out there”. Get out there I did, drove the truck to the barn, (far corner of the woods) and almost lost it in the mud. I had just had the truck washed, if it wasn’t for four wheel drive, I’d be sitting there till June!
The woods is full of last years leaves, soggy underneath and not quite dry on top. The ground gushes when you walk. I don’t always practice using my memory for usual, mundane things. I can watch a sporting event and quickly forget who did what, when and how. But, get me into my woods, the family woods, and I can point out where we found mushrooms for the last 15 years.
There is this one place, it’s near a corner of the property. Some years ago, I cut down two large dead Black Oak trees. Dad came out with his bobcat and stacked the 8 foot logs into a pile for future fireplace cutting. I cut on those log for years. We have a path that goes by that spot, the usable firewood, today is long gone. But, I remember that spot. After returning to the middle Midwest, we didn’t live at the woods, at that time, in fact, my family and I lived 40 miles away, so it was a big event to go cut fire wood. My kids, too big go and not interested, never went on firewood runs. I grabbed the chainsaw, one cold gray Saturday, stopped at the folks house to explain what I was doing, they lived about 8 miles from the woods. Whether for safety or companionship, dad wanted to go along.
I began cutting wood, the splitting would happen later. It was at this time in his life that dad only had the strength enough to stand and watch. It was cold, he shivered, and held on to the side of truck for balance.
I remember that day, every time I walk by that place. Dad loved the woods.
Spring is coming, and soon the woods will burst forth in a green that only spring can bring.