|Drew's Birthday Larch|
|Enjoying His Gift|
|Freshly Chopped Larch|
Smoldering wood makes me long for spring more than any other reason at the moment. My hair is flecked with ashes from blowing at coals, as if my new workout includes deep inhalations with long blowing breaths. I pant before my open wood-stove trying to get orange coals to spark reluctant larch into flames.
Larch grows in the northern Rockies like a pine and sheds its needles like an aspen in autumn. The slopes seem full of dead trees in winter, but come spring larch brightens the forests with new green needles. Green needles are great; green wood, not so much.
Our grand pile of pine and birch did not last the winter. A few weeks ago, Todd bought us a pile of rounds. We like to split wood ourselves, and by "we," I mean Drew, my son-in-law. As the wood-dealer dumped rounds in our yard, Drew and Allison headed to Idaho.
Actually, we thought they were going winter-camping and were pleasantly surprised when they showed up at Elmira Pond. They were surprised too--we were in Couer D'Alene, 45 miles south. But Drew didn't miss the big pile of rounds in the yard, and over the phone we told him, "Happy birthday!"
The next morning, I rose to fix breakfast, hearing a steady whump outside. Drew was playing with his new gift, chopping the larch. In between meals, birthday cake and several rounds of Catan, Drew finished chopping all the rounds and his lovely wife helped to stack it all on our porch.
So while the wood has me attempting to breath fire, the memory of Drew's chopping his birthday gift leaves me warm.