The MiL took Cubby and Charlie with her to church this morning just as Jack was going down for a nap. A. and I sat by the woodstove for awhile enjoying the quiet, and then A. went out to split some wood. After a few minutes, I went out too, because I wanted to help him stack it.
I was not just being altruistic. I did it as much for me as for him. And here's why: The majority of my time is spent doing tasks that are physically taxing (hauling around a giant infant, carrying laundry up and down stairs, scrubbing grout) and deeply unsatisfying in their repetitiveness. The dishes must be done, every day, usually twice (though to be fair, the MiL does a lot of dishes, too). The laundry must be done, every other day, at least two loads. The kitchen floor must be swept, the rugs must be vacuumed, the household must be fed, and on and on and on go the tasks that feel like nothing so much as drudgery.
All of this wears me out without making me feel as if I'm doing anything of any lasting value.
But stacking wood? Yes, it is a little physically taxing, but actually doesn't cripple me as much as scrubbing the grout in the bathroom. Stacking wood means I'm outside, moving without encumbrance, and doing something that has a quantitative result. I can see the woodpile getting bigger. And I know that it will stay pretty big for a pretty long time. I don't have to stack wood again tomorrow, or the next day. The amount of wood that I can stack in half an hour will feed the fire for at least a couple of weeks.
And so I stacked. And it was good.