A journal of narrative writing.

The half-empty woodshed shocks me a moment, though I'm the one who emptied it too. March is a good month to knock the frozen-out wasps' nests down. If I still had chickens I'd loft half a bucket of these morsels to them like a bag of tissuey potato chips. Sometimes a spotlight dangled from a long extension cord above a laying box would let me find all five hens dog-piled cold mornings in a bright cone of glow. I miss the chickens, but I also miss the wood. Fed piece by piece since last October to the fire, certain chunks of it come to me like old friends, some pitch-heavy and some so fine and straight-grained a mess of kindling will split thin as chopsticks. What is the nature of man that he should see his shed half-full of wood and feel something less than summer saying here I am right where you left me? This piece here I had to lay face-up on the block and bash five times to break through the knot, and the knot popped out otherwise unblemished, threaded and tapered like a fat screw. In the beginning, wood meant tree, and forest, and the woodshed's made of wood, and the woods surround us unmenaced by the smell of wood burning in our fire. If I were a woodshed, I'd be empty to there, where a wasp nest big as my outstretched palm dangles, almost out of reach. I have to stand on this mostly gone stack to get to it, and it's so well made and symmetrical I take it in the house and feed it to the fire too, face-up also on the coals, then watch through the front door's glass as it catches and burns in the shape of itself much longer than seems right or reasonable to believe it could. But when I turn away to call my wife to see, I look again, and it's almost all gone.