Into the Winter Woods
Long-johns top and bottom, heavy socks, flannel shirt, overalls,
steel-toed work boots, sweater, canvas coat, toque, mittens: on.
Out past grape arbor and garden shed, into the woods.
Sun just coming through the trees. There really is such a thing
as Homer’s rosy-fingered dawn. And here it is, this morning.
Down hill, across brook, up hill, and into the stand of white pine
and red maple where I’m cutting firewood. Open up workbox,
take out chain saw, gas, bar oil, kneel down, gas up saw, add
bar oil to the reservoir, stand up, mittens off, strap on and buckle
chaps from waist to toe, hard hat helmet: on. Ear protectors: down,
face screen: down, push in compression release, pull out choke,
pull on starter cord, once, twice, go. Stall. Pull out choke, pull on
starter cord, once, twice, go. Push in choke. Mittens: back on.
Cloud of two-cycle exhaust smoke wafting into the morning air
and I, looking like a medieval Japanese warrior, wade through
blue smoke, knee-deep snow, revving the chain saw as I go,
headed for that doomed, unknowing maple tree.
From Happy Life by David Budbill, 2011.