First Fire

by Sydney Michalski

As the temperatures dropped below freezing for the first time this year, we made our little woodstove ready for fire season!

This one woodstove, rescued and renovated from our abandoned homesite, provides all of the heat for our home, from about mid-October to the first of May. All of the wood that we use, for now, comes entirely from our clearing efforts for the farm and general property clean-up, so that we don’t have to harvest any trees exclusively for firewood. In that sense, it’s free heat – time-and-labor only!

And most of our kindling comes from the workshop, in the form of shavings, cut-offs, scraps, etc…

The first fire of the season, in the little woodstove that provides all the heat to our Maine cabin. Sustainable living.
first fire

This year, as we gathered around the cheerful glow of the season’s first fire, something was a little different…”Hey, isn’t that my old spoon? Hey, there’s that bowl that cracked!” The kids began to recognize some of the kindling! Some of the pieces that were starting our first fire were pieces that they had seen in the workshop, in their own efforts, or in Joe’s efforts, pieces that didn’t work out, for one reason or another, and my husband said…

“Yep! We’re burning up last season’s mistakes!”

…therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Matthew 3:10, KJV

As the fire began crackled, the kids began to realize that it was full of broken and failed projects from last season! Because life is not perfect, and neither is woodworking.

Sometimes, the wood is brash. Sometimes, you mess up. Sometimes, when it dries, it cracks. Sometimes, you put too much pressure on the wrong place, and it snaps. It’s disappointing, at the moment, to watch your time and effort come to nothing…And so you pause, you might sigh, you might share the story of your frustration with those around you…If you are one of our children, there may even be some momentary tears, and some comforting words…And then you toss it into the firewood pile, and you move on to the next thing to do…

…but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14, KJV
Small bonfires make excellent clearing tools on the Michalski homestead.

But here, as the nights turn to frost, and it’s time, once more, to light the woodstove to keep our little cabin warm all fall-and-winter-and-spring-long, that disappointment has long been forgotten…And now, it has been transformed into delight, as all of those failures turn into bright, cheerful, warming flames!

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28, KJV

What amazing lessons the Lord has for us, unfolding gradually over time, in unexpected ways, from the everyday work of our hands!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close