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.