Spent an hour in the morning moving a wood-pile
from near the house where they need to lay pipes
to a copse I cleared two years ago
of a mountain of twenty year hawthorn and briar.
It was the remains of a large birch, mossy and lichen-ridden, riddled
with holes and splits.
There was a pleasure in the job as, so early, there was not heat in the wind.
Alone to my thoughts.
The wind was stirring the large leaves of a walnut tree
at once caressing face and filling ears –
sound of distant wood pigeons echoing across the valley.
A few low-flying swallows zip and twitter across the barley field.
To make a wood-pile:
First, select some younger, less decayed branches to make a frame
(this keeps the rest of the wood off the earth)
then comes the pleasant monotony of loading larger logs in the barrow
tense muscles as you feel the weight on the handles
a slight push up the incline –
pause to brush wood-dirt of my black sweater
a balancing act of teasing a badly-weighted barrow across the garden
and unloading in the copse.
My muscles remember lifting barrels of beer for the larger logs – a lift, a twist, arm against leg for leverage, and up into the barrow, ready to roll off at the other end.
In the copse, the satisfaction is there of taking time over a task –
carefully rotating logs to see the best fit,
rolling them in the hand so that they curl together
jamming in smaller pieces to prevent rolling.
A sudden strengthening of the valley wind brings two or three ripe plums tumbling.