Thursday, November 3, 2011


We worked six weeks since Hurricane Irene on our island by the river and cleared up all the mess. Call it what it was — a mess, with full trees smashed together with everything else plus the kitchen sink, wrapped up in the trees debris. It made us plenty of firewood. Some dry elm, ready immediately and in the woodstove as I write.

I won't bore you how we got the wood cut, split, lugged, and back home. Think: little engines that could. I’ve become a lousy writer retelling this story over and over as if the work drill has been unavoidable from the actual work to what is caught in the cycle of my brain. Repetitious log lugging by foot over land and water with only my mind and landscape as company? What luxury, if keeping with the right attitude. Work like a work horse, speak like a work horse? I think so.

A respiratory cough also came with the flood aura and work. Talk to many who have been working steadily around flood damage and wet conditions and there's a cough.

While working on the island, large cottonwood style poplar trees were dislodged and instead of carting all of that home, I sculptured out by chain saw four chairs and one stump table seen above in the photograph. All the background oak logs were bucked up, split and carried home.

One morning we decided to bring breakfast down to the island. Hobos retreat.

The tree damage was severe but it brought us firewood. Much land was washed away but it brought us a fresh crop of stone. We make things.

And then — heavy, heavy early snow for Halloween! Everything in this photograph, but Sweetheart, is now buried.

Since October snows at almost two feet it has melted down to one foot the third day of November, but it looks more like March melting to April. Except the oak and beech leaves are golden and dying instead of greening. If climate change is here, we may have to change the names of the months.

photo © bob arnold