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Thursday, 13 September 2012

When stacking wood - just stack wood!

I'm sure some of you who know me will be smiling at the title, but I just had to share this morning's chore with you.  Yesterday a huge pile of wood was delivered ready for the winter.  It arrived in a tipper truck, so neatly stacked, it seemed such a shame it would just be tipped onto the parking area outside the house.  The wood stack that is left over from last year is behind the house along a wall - dry and the most protected part of the property, so with a cover it's a good place for firewood.  This wood was to join it - making a new stack but the tipper truck would never be able to tip it at the actual location, although he would be able to get very close.

How the tipped pile looked - although this was taken
after I had stacked and tidied about a third...
When he arrived, he did a marvelous job of getting a chunky vehicle into a small space and tipping exactly where asked.  The pile (1.5 tonnes) looked large and quite daunting and being a hot day I decided it could sit there and I would start on it another day.  The location is not the easiest to get to with a wheelbarrow - even if the wheel hadn't fallen off the one that came with the property - because there is a path around the house and a kind of palm tree growing between the wall and the path.  It was going to be a case of moving it by hand, which actually I prefer as years of using wheelbarrows hads caused upper back problems that get aggravated when using one even for a short time.

Today I awoke to a cool and cloudy day - perfect for walking the dogs, so we headed off in the car to a location right up above the village and walked and ran and played for an hour before heading home.  The clouds were still with us and the temperature perfect for a bit of wood stacking!  So, after breakfast, I got stuck in.

What could have seemed like a depressingly huge task turned out to be fun - like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Planning to walk the Camino and planning the stages, how to make sure the dogs don't do too much and how to break it down into manageable parts has been a good lesson in breaking things down.  To think of a 1300km walk is overwhelming, but to think of 10km one day or 15km another... maybe with longer stretches occasionally - makes it all seem possible.  Some years ago one of the horse trainers I studied with used to say of seemingly impossible tasks or problems "isolate, separate and recombine".  Both the walk and the wood stacking can be subjected to this formula and it works... isolate the issues (break them down into smaller chunks), separate them off so that they are all individual, smaller pieces  that they can be more easily dealt with, and then put it all back together again.

The stacked jigsaw
Looking at the walk, I can do almost 1/4 of it entirely in day trips from my front door - that's almost 300km.  A further substantial chunk can be done by making two or three day trips away from home.  This will mean the long stint will be more manageable and less overwhelming.  With the wood, I decided initially to stack only the bits that had rolled and strayed across the parking area and to do just a little each day.  Once I had started it looked much tidier, but I still had energy left and decided to do a bit more - I would move the part that was furthest away from the pile and start stacking that and at the same time this would make the pile a little less of an overspill toward the gate.  I had nowhere else to be and all I had to do was stack wood.  The chore became a jigsaw puzzle and so the only focus was the wood - how to place it, how to make sure it would not roll, how to stack it best that the outer wood (even though it is all to be covered) would best protect the wood inside, how to make sure it was neat against the wall without encroaching the walkway, how to make sure it was slanting slightly up and back to the wall to prevent slippage, how to place smaller pieces with bigger ones, how to fill smaller gaps so as not to waste the space and how to overall make it look neat.  Before I knew it the pile was half the size and I only made myself stop so that I would not risk getting sore which might mean I would not be able to complete part three of my Camino walk tomorrow!  The slightly overwhelming task of stacking all that wood now looked manageable and nowhere near as daunting or as large as it was.  The bonus was that stacking was a joy, not a chore.

It's not always easy to do this I know - especially with emotional issues.  With physical labour it is easier and you can see the fruits of your labours, plus the physical work feels good for the body.  All we can do is keep practicing and working at taking this kind of thing into the more challenging areas of our lives.  Something about the Camino walking and the wood stacking feels good - it is more earthy, more grounding I suppose and feels more like how we are supposed to be...  Living here in Spain and doing these things again. things I have not done for a long time (in fact many years) certainly brings it home...  that we spend far too much time in our heads and that this is not always healthy, especially if we spend too much time there!  Coming back to the now and just stacking wood is essential!

(Thank you to all my teachers who have helped me to stack wood xxxx)

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