Morning pages, Buying Wood on Craigslist, and Slumdog Millionaire Moments


I have another book I’m reading as suggested by a good friend.  It’s called “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron and has practical tools for artists.

Tool 1 is called “Morning Pages”. Each morning, write 3 pages in longhand about anything.

My longhand looks like my grandmother’s writing; she will be 104 soon.  Plus I have dip nails, so even holding onto a fat Sharpie is a struggle.

I prefer using my phone and a journaling app and a minimum of 2 cups of coffee.  I can write thoughts of past days and of today. Monday I was a bit scared buying firewood from a guy off Craigslist.

“Oh, you can find firewood EVERYWHERE!” swore my friends to this City Slicker who asked for phone numbers of which there were none.  Hmmm. I googled “firewood and Emmett” and 1 listing showed.  “Call Fred at #”

It takes all my nerve to call friends and family on the phone vs text let alone a Craigslist seller.  A real person answered “Welp. I ain’t got the split cords no more but I kin cut logs to spec. 16 inch ok?”

Suddenly I had a Slumdog Millionaire moment: “yes, 16 inches unsplit is perfect.”

I had cut those big heavy log pieces before at age 10 in winter in my pajamas and moon boots.  You catch the logs at the end of the axe and just whollop the whole lot on the big stump until it splits into smaller pieces.  We had kids as splitters then.

Instructed to bring cash, I was nervous.  I drove my buddy’s “rig” Ford F150 with metal rails and touchy brakes to the GPS location (“You have arrived” assured the robot voice though I was smack dab in the middle of a cow pasture).  I checked mailbox numbers, then drove south of railroad tracks onto a tiny dirt road near a forest.  The road led me to a humble and elevated and weathered gray single-wide trailer without windows facing a forest.  I saw the uncut lodge pole pine logs in front and smelled freshly cut wood.

A black lab waddled over. He was grey in his face and friendly so I gave him a pat and looked for a front door past a wood chipper and file cabinet and swallowed hard.  The address I had texted to my husband in case..you know…of chainsaws..

I walked up the stairs without railings onto a porch weathered grey and also without railings. The porch had a single blue picnic chair next to the blue door of the house.  Deep breath.  I knocked and stood back, waiting to be featured on some Forensics Crime Show in the future.

The man answered the door and came out and examined me through square thick lenses.  Like a nervous Kirby salesman, I blathered “Are you Fred?! Great! I’m Suze!” And handed him the agreed money once we were both clear of the door and whatever darkness lurked inside. He counted. “Oh, no. This is the price PER CORD.” “Oh, I see. It did seem low to me. No worries. I’ll be back with the rest. Must go All The Way Back Into Town unless you’ll take a check?!” I tested. “Nope. Cash’ll be fine. Tho them banks is closed now.” 

21st Century me countered “ATMs will be open don’tcha think?”  I hopped back into the truck and headed for town looking around for any suspicious folks in my 2 mirrors.  The passenger side mirror was gone but I did alright.

I returned with the rest of the cash and was thrilled to see that a braid-haired country woman clad in tan Carhartt dungarees had arrived. His wife perhaps.  She waved and smiled through her mirrored aviators.  Fred had hooked up the long log trailer and was stacking the 16 inchers already.

Legit!  I didn’t die!

Fred motioned me to turn my borrowed rig around down by the old tractor, wood chipper and file cabinet.  Delivery to my friend was to happen the next day and it did.  Wood is life in an Idaho winter since electricity is so expensive.

Memories of chopping wood as a kid bothered me for some years but this experience made me grateful.  Grateful that I knew about firewood and that I was grown enough to trust myself that I could do this to help my friend.  I also remember starting the evening fire to heat the house-being self-reliant and capable and making the house cosy.

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