Casket Wood

Unseasonably warm New England days are guaranteed to give way to cool nights. An open fire in my 1977 Vermont Castings Vigilant wood stove warms and brightens the mood and the room. It may be that when I leave here when the home is sold, I will also make provisions that the stove will go too.
Over the years it has been tradition to scavenge for as much wood as possible; often as a supplement to the cord wood required to heat a house winter after long cold winter. As wood shops, kilns and pallet re-builders became scarce I had about given up on a steady supply. A little networking reconnected me with someone that I have not seen since high school. Almost forty years ago! He operates a casket making company that uses a variety of wood. Beautiful maple, oak and select mahogany. Pieces unsuitable for wood overcoats are shelved for the absent actual owners who also use them to heat their own homes tucked away in the hills of Vermont. Luckily for me, he's been able to provide me crumbs from the table. And for that I am grateful.
The running joke has been that we're burning dead people wood. A knot, an imperfection, a split: all has helped to determine whether the piece ends up on display in a funeral home or in a stove or wood furnace. And all this has me thinking of words written by Eihei Dogen in the autumn of 1253...

Firewood becomes ash, 
and does not become firewood again. 
Yet, do not suppose that ash is future 
and the firewood past.





Comments

Trey Smith said…
Hey, wood is wood and warmth is warmth!
Tao1776 said…
Do the Ramblers always come out in pairs? The Baroness also posted a comment but it only came through via e-mail.
Sophia said…
That poem is so Zen! Love it. :)

We live in an apartment so can't have a wood burning stove but I've always been attracted to those electric fireplaces that you can buy in stores. I heard they use a lot of energy, though, so my utility bills might not like them! ...but I would love the ambiance.
Jennie said…
Good morrow,

When I 1st read your post I'd had, on the same day, just read the Chinese story of how the 5 elements inter-relate. Page as I might I've not found it again. However, this morning we are unseasonably cold so I lit a fire. My fire-pot generated such heat that the fire-retardant beading around the flue at the ceiling glowed at one spot. Either I was too enthusiastic or the resin in the bark had chemical potential in the furnace!

Sjoe, instant lesson in respect for Fire!

Now that I've recovered I might go 4 a walk on the beach - wind in my toes, sand in my hair :) ... Njoy your day.
Tao1776 said…
Hi Jennie! I have to be very careful with this kind of wood. Warped the damper in the VC many years ago. Had to rebuild the stove (whoops!)
The beach? Pray, where tell???
Jennie said…
OOOPS indeed... being my 1st fire of the season, I realize now that part of my problem was the soot stuck inside the flue... it ignited half-way up the flue, so I'll have to get it sorted b4 Winter arrives in person.

I'm at the Southern end of GMT+2, in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa where we have Pansy shells & dolphins & from now til July the Whales pop in to visit, most Gracious creatures... No dragons tho (only in my Fire Pot). But I have a view of Peak Formosa that reminds me of Tolkien's "Far over the misty mountains...". No doubt this winter those mounains with be dusted in snow, I think we're in for a cold season this year. J