Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter time is fireplace time.

At Christmas time we had our first fire of the year in our fireplace. I gathered some old wood from outside and also a box of scrap wood from my workshop; the remnants of a variety of projects over the past few months. My 5 year old granddaughter was helping me throw the small scraps on to the roaring fire. Then I realized that she was keeping about every third piece because she liked the way they looked, especially the ruby stains in the box elder. Ah, a girl after my own heart.

Here's an old English poem about firewood:

Beech-wood fires burn bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year;
Store your beech for Christmastide
With new-cut holly laid beside;
Chestnut's only good, they say,
If for years 'tis stored away;
Birch and fir-wood burn too fast
Blaze too bright and do not last;
Flames from larch will shoot up high,
Dangerously the sparks will fly;
But ash-wood green and ash-wood brown
Are fit for a Queen with a golden crown.

Oaken logs, if dry and old,
Keep away the winter's cold;
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke;
Elm-wood burns like churchyard mould,
E'en the very flames are cold;
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread -
So it is in Ireland said;
Apple-wood will scent the room,
Pear-wood smells like flowers in bloom;
But ash-wood wet and ash-wood dry
A King may warm his slippers by.

Do the dancing flames really symbolize dancing wood nymphs?
Keep the home fires burning brightly this winter.
I wish you all a happy and a peace-filled new year.