PODCAST-A bulbous-ended chunk of wood interrupts the flow of the woodpile. Counter it with another piece that has an off-setting quirk. Yin and yang. Of course, leaving a little room on top of the stack creates a home for the absolute misfits that are either too long or too wonky to finagle into a row.
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SMOKING OUT THE VALLEY DWELLERS
Dr. Perrodin confesses to having ignited more than a few fires that have fogged his neighbors in the sweet smells of burnt oak and maple. In rare instances, a chilled, damp chimney has condensed smoke and returned it to the fireplace and out the vents and into the room! Yikes, open the sliding doors and turn on the ceiling fan!
WHAT HIBBING, MINNESOTA HAS TO DO WITH A FIREPLACE
A robust fire corresponds to understanding climate conditions. In a brief memoir, David recounts visiting the Hibbing Ore Mine (largest in the United States) with his Dad a few years ago to observe a rare pit blast. Before the detonation, a small plane flew over the site to monitor the air density above the blast area. This step was necessary to prevent a “bounce back” effect of the concussive pressure wave from the blast encountering a dense air layer and reflecting to the ground – putting people and equipment at risk.
NO LONGER A TASK COMPLETION SOCIETY
Dr. Perrodin perceives that fewer of life’s activities have a defined start and a defined end and we are enrolled into exhausting “races without finish lines”. This is evident in school safety as there will never be a “completion” of school safety – weapons and strategies will forever mutate and this race without a finish line will continue to burn out, or numb, the most vigilant sprinters.
THE GOOD OLD DAYS
It seems that there was more “closure” in the “old” days. A freshly-turned 47-year-old Dr. Perrodin remembers painting fences; mowing lawns; and replacing spark plugs and wires. He also longs for the almost unfathomable reality of an elementary school with a large fireplace in every classroom.
THE ZEN OF STACKING WOOD
David no longer engages in marathon sessions of hauling cords of chaotically-strewn wood from his garage to his basement – tipping the point of total physical exhaustion. Those days of mere task completion were replaced with task appreciation as this fall Dr. Perrodin transported the wrecked-heap of wood from his garage to his basement over the span of four days. The slower, more deliberate process allowed David to assess each piece of wood and determine how to best finagle it into the developing stacks. He shares the “Zen” quality of this previously dreaded task.
The gift of newly-stacked firewood is the humidity it exhales into a dry house – the comforting thickness of hardwood fragrance seemingly projecting the warmth that would soon be delivered by roaring fires and a toasty stone wall that would surrender heat hours after the red faded from the coals.
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