I’d never survive on a chain gang. I can only do about 20 minutes of manual labor before I have an overwhelming need to lie down and read my book. It’s not that I’m lazy or physically lacking, I just don’t care for long stints of repetitive activity.
Stacking wood and grating cheese come to mind.
3 years ago I decided to count the logs as I looked at the pile dropped in the middle of the driveway.
It took me a couple of afternoons at 20 minutes a pop.
There are 540 pieces in a cord of wood.
2 years ago there was no way I was getting into the garage until 2 cord were stacked. Back to counting. Looks like we got a couple of fat cords the total was 1084.
Last year as soon as 3 cords were unloaded we got 8 inches of snow. No garage and no plowing until they got moved. This was manual labor at its worst. It had to be a rush job so I allowed myself to be shamed into longer stretches by Honey Bun.
In order to get through this I relied on the old yoga adage of “Be in the Moment”.
I became an automaton. I didn’t need to count. I needed to do my job. I mean I needed to just “be”.
I focused on the smell of the wood, the snow melting into my gloves, and the numbness of my fingers. It turns out that I have trouble keeping track of the tally when I can’t stop when I need to. At least I could count all the bruises on my arms, legs and feet.
I wouldn’t necessarily say being in the moment made it any more palatable but at least I didn’t lie down on the job and pull everyone down with me.
This year as the first cord was dropped I decided that it’s okay to count while being in the moment. Any yogi knows that counting your breath can be helpful in class, why not off the mat?
Off and out I went.
When the kid arrived about 30 minutes later with the second load, I proudly said “I’ve stacked 100 logs!”
He looked a little blank.
“Did you know there are 540 logs in a cord?” I continued.
“One year I counted 1084 in two cords!” I added hoping to get some sort of response.
“It’s not that I’m checking up on you or anything”, I added lamely.
“That’s weird” he said as he pulled the lever and the second cord dropped onto the first.
“NOOOOOOOOOOO!” I said to myself. Now the two cords were one big one. I really wanted to test the 540 hypothesis but then again I can work with 1084. Not to worry, one more cord to come and I’ll make sure to keep it separate.
The next day Sister Dee was at the house kindly taking care of Georgia the dog. As I drove up she was stacking wood. I could feel slight panic in my chest.
“Nine, ten!”, she announced as I got out of the car.
“Are you sure” I asked tentatively.
“Pretty sure. Brother Had helped earlier, not sure if he counted” she added.
Okay I still have one untouched cord to go.
Yesterday I was up to 310. By my visual estimation the tally was going to be spot on again. No sooner had I gone inside to glance at my book when two friends arrived dressed like professional stackers in red and green plaid jackets.
“We’re here to help!”, they announced proudly.
I wasn’t sure how to go about asking them to count logs so I casually said, “Did you know there are 540 logs in a cord?”
I hoped for “Oh wow! That’s so cool what are you up to now?”
Instead I got,“Oh man, don’t tell us that”.
That was it. No solid counting data this year but at least I can get my car into the garage.
Time to make quesadillas for dinner. I bought pre-shredded cheese.
Namaste, no more wood to stack hooray!