Firewood and Berries

by Michael, Az.

Well, got up this morning before the sun and could feel the chill in the air. Absolutely love this time of year. After the long summer in the Arizona desert, a 70 degree morning feels cold, Brrrr. Coffee pot plugged in, CNN turned on, and waiting for the old computer to warm up. CNN reports are just more bad news. The shooter in Virginia, the middle east, the economy, and some rascal stealing peoples retirement money. Sometimes I just don't want to turn the news on, kinda knowing what it will be, but its one of those deals you just can't help, so you turn it on. Boy oh boy, does that coffee smell good. I fill my biggest cup and head for the shop. Plop down in the old seat that I took out of my Freightliner years ago and wait for the old joints to loosen up some. Turn on the stereo and now its time to get serious with that cup of coffee. Sometimes I think the old Dodge pickup and Cub get a little angry with me for coming out early and ruining their morning! Hey, now there's an idea! The old Cub hasn't been out for awhile and I'm getting a thought. The berries won't be lasting much longer up in the foothills of our mountain and won't be long before the woodstove will be hollering for wood. Yep, lets do it, lets go get a load of wood and pick some berrys.

With the second cup of coffee I start checking things over on the Cub, just to be sure shes up to the trip. Engine oil down just a little but that is all thats needed. I have one of those old military trailers made for a jeep that works well so back out the Cub and hitch up. Back inside the shop and get the Stihl chainsaw out and check it over. Got to remember water and better make a ham sandwich to take. A man can sure get hungry on the mountain. I hate to brag, honestly I do, but I am fortunate enough to live close to a very spectacular range of mountains. Its over 11,000 feet to the peak! Right here in the middle of the desert, wonder how that happened? Never have taken the Cub up there to the top, not sure she could breathe in that elevation.

The trip to the foothills is pretty uneventful, did see a coyote troting along out a couple hundred yards. He probably had a pretty hard night chasing jackrabbits and anything else that would run. The leaves are changing color now and they sure are beautiful. Those darned Cub owners that live back east and up north get to see leaves everyday, but me, like Moses, I got to go to the mountain! Oh well, Getting to the treeline now and I had better start looking for some big limbs that have been broken by the monsoon season. One big limb and I'll have a load. The only thing I'm looking for is black oak. Not a lot of hardwood in Az., but quite a bit of oak in the mountains. Mesquite is very hard and a good firewood, but has a pungent odor and I much prefer the oak. I find one that won't be too hard to get to and go to work. In about an hour the trailer is loaded with the heavy oak and now the little Cub should be very happy to have something heavy to pull. Darned little tractor just loves to work!

Dig out the thermos and enjoy the scenery while I have the last cup of coffee. Gods creation, how could anything be so beautiful? Everytime I'm here I feel I've escaped to another world. The shooter in Virgina doesn't exist anymore. {If I brought him here for a couple days and he helped me cut firewood, cook over an open fire and listen to some of my stories while the coyotes howled, would he still want to take life so needlessley?} The worry of the middle east isn't in my mind now. {I don't even think about loosing some of my kids and grandchildren in some silly war.} And here, there isn't any economy. Just life in harmony and big boulders that have witnessed the changes for eons. Looking at all this I can't help but wonder about the people that lived here hundreds and thousands of years ago. The Apaches are still here, but the Anasazi were here before them. I wonder if a few thousand years ago, somebody was setting on my rock wondering about those that came before him? He couldn't have dared to dream of the things to come after him. I can't help but wonder if they had social problems like we do? They sure didn't have the technology. Wow, if we could somehow bring our humanity up to the same level as our technological acomplishments, wouldn't that be something?

Dang it, my mind is wandering again! Guess thats what being out in the woods will do for you, make you see things a little different and the thoughts seem a little clearer. I had better start to look for those berries and try to get there before some old black bear finds them. We both need to put on some fat before winter, and first come, first served!

Michael Az

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