I was remembering the most unusual Thanksgiving I have experienced. My husband and I lived in east central Arizona where winters were cold and often snowy. This particular season brought wonderful weather, filled with sunshine and mild temperatures.
We loved the outdoors and we also loved using our fireplace with a fantastic insert that would heat us out of the house once it got going.
We decided to take advantage of the short-lived fall-like weather and bring home some firewood. We collected our equipment, cutting permit, drinking water, jackets, gloves, snacks and lunch and climbed into the pickup and headed to the forest.
It wasn’t the first wood-cutting trip we had taken, so the pickup nearly did the driving without assistance. We snaked our way over rutted and crooked roads, enjoying the rust and gold draped trees and dodged squirrels doing their fall nut gathering. We even saw a few deer stopping for a drink at a shrinking pond.
A dead and down juniper caught our attention and we imagined how it would warm us twice, once while we worked and several times as we enjoyed reading by the fire’s warmth back in our family room.
We gulped down a bottle of water and munched an apple anxious to get started.
“Timber!” Ernie called as he removed large limbs which went sailing away from the body of the tree or when he lowered a standing dead tree. Then he trimmed the baby limbs and twigs to create work room. It was my job to clear the babies and then load the small firewood limbs. He man-handled the larger chunks which would be split at home. It wasn’t long till we were shedding our jackets, but not gloves.
Nothing compares to the smell of the forest and the cut wood. Mmmmmmm. And the sound of the wind sighing through the pines is heavenly music. Wood-cutting tiredness is pleasant when the results of our work collected in the bed of the pickup.
Lunch tastes much better in the forest than in the kitchen. We enjoyed it sitting on a stump. A couple of busy acorn-gathering squirrels investigated us from a distance while running up and down a tree. Birds entertained us with their songs. We didn’t miss the town noises at all. A brief respite and back to work, oh those aching backs! .
When the pickup was filled with all the available trees, we reloaded and secured our equipment, moaned a few times and started our return trip home.
Unloading and splitting the firewood would wait till another day.
If I played an instrument, I might have sat down and accompanied our voices, “when we come to the end of a perfect (Thanksgiving) Day”, as I remember the words of an old song.