on spirit and human impatience

by problembear


if they won’t listen we are just making noise

and noise is just annoying.

the bark of the ponderosa interlocks like puzzles

to join the silence of snow where the answer to the problem

gathers strength and awaits the proper time to speak.




  1. kathleen

    Niiiiice. Will be quiet now.

  2. It should be noted the Ponderosa thrives with regular firestorms.

  3. JC

    Nice, pb. I spent the weekend chopping on the 2 cords of ponderosa I bought last week. It was a hell of a deal off of Craigslist from a gentleman who was thinning p-pine in his woodlot out in Potomac, and wanted to see it go to good use.

    But I had forgotten how difficult p-pine can be to chop.

    You must become one with the grain, aligning axe and bit with the hidden fractures that lie within, chopping through the round to the block below.

    I had great laughs with my daughter as her first attempts to split a round were met with the maul head bouncing off of the top, instead of splitting through, or lodging in a groove. Doink!

    Today my muscles hurt all the way down to my lower abdominals, as it took that last bit of oomph from them to generate the leverage needed to get that “snap” to split the intertwined grains. And reverse splitting: that technique where you take the maul lodged in the round, and heave it back over upside down, forcing the round onto the bit as the backside slams into the block.

    But my woodshed is full, and I don’t care how many more blizzards winter throws my way, as I am ready.

    • I grew up with nothing but wood heat. It’s not pleasant for having a social life; you always smell like smoke. But I always enjoyed, and still do, splitting wood. My former neighbor here in Bozeman had nothing but wood heat, and he called splitting ‘redneck aerobics’. Still love that term.

      • JC

        Having a social life is overrated. ;-)

        Actually, I’m out in the boonies, so everytime I come to town, it’s shave, shower and clean clothes time. Otherwise I feel like I’m doing a kaczynski, and get treated like it. And that’s not good for business… or a social life.

        And I do have electric heat. I just use wood to get my house up over 55 or 60.

      • I miss chopping wood. When I lived in Wyoming, I pretty much relied on wood for heat and hot water, unless it got too cold (a high of -30 would be an example)..which would force me to switch to electricity because usually it’d be too cold to get a proper draw on the stove.

        I loved splitting it, I loved stacking it. I loved the smell of it.

        Hell – you should have called me. We’da made a party of the task.

      • petetalbot

        I like splitting wood, too, up to a point. This past fall when buddies and I were putting up wood for a wood-heated cabin in the Gallatin, we cheated: we rented a hydraulic splitter. There’s a certain satisfaction in watching the blade slowly shear a twenty-inch diameter round in half. We put up over four cords in a day. Would have taken me a week by hand. Of course, still had to manually split the kindling.

        Love the ‘redneck aerobics’ phrase, though.

        P.S. As I once mentioned to Lizard, my appreciation of poetry runs to, “there once was a man from Nantucket …” Maybe I’m evolving as I enjoyed your short verse, p-bear.

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