Chopping firewood – from “The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees” by Robert Penn

Chopping firewood can be done in short bursts – in fact, little and often is the best way to approach a large pile – yet, as the logs mount in a stack around your choppping block, there is an obvious and pleasing sense of progress after just half an hour. If I keep at it for longer, I can fall into a trance chopping wood: it is a form of meditation, albeit with a lethal weapon. Somehow my capacity to concentrate, and strike the log precisely where I want, is heightened in this state; meanwhile the general debris of daily life gently empties from my head, leaving a void. Paradoxically, in this void, I sense I am exercising my judgement and sharpening my cognitive attentiveness, a human virtue that degenerates in many otehr parts of my daily life.

From “The Man Who  Made Things Out Of Trees”, Robert Penn

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