Anna, Brian, Daniel, and James arrived just after noon. We had a delightful ploughboy's lunch in the cabin, and then proceeded to construct the fire. Big fires like this are started from the middle out, usually. The logs on the bottom are laid to allow maximum draught, then the fire lay is constructed on the next layer of smaller logs. The rest of the fire is built up and around the fire lay. It took a lot of doing to get this beast going, but we finally got it roaring.
James feeling peckish
Then we took a walk. I wanted Daniel to walk my fence line so he would know, as he grows older and bolder, where the boundaries are. As long as he's on my land, he's okay. This is important, because growing boys need room for their thoughts, room for discoveries, room to dream. Every boy needs a place to play; one day, that will also be a place to pray.
Daniel helping with the pyre
Well, we got half the fence line walked, almost. We followed the fence along the knees of Woods Ridge and clambered down precipitously to the Pishon. I then pointed up the even longer path to the top of Akes Hill and said, "my land goes all the way up to there." The group decided to walk back along the creek path, rather than scramble up Akes Hill and follow that fence line. Another day.
We found all kinds of downed trees and poacher's cuts that have broken my fence down. I really need to spend a lot of time and effort mending fence. The problem is, you can only do it in late winter. Once the briars start to green up, you can't get to the fence to fix it. I can take my chainsaw up there this next month, but it'll be next year before I'll be able to devote any serious time to schlepping barbed wire and stretchers and all that around the boundary. Brian and Daniel may make a three-man team with me by then.
We finished up with supper and cards in the cabin. Then Anna & co. returned to Richmond. I stayed overnight in the cabin, because I didn't want to leave a blaze going. And ash takes a long time to burn. The stars were beautiful, the full moon flooded the skylights in the cabin. I had a restful night in the loft. By the time I got up and checked on the pyre this morning, there was only half of one base log and a few unburnt ends left. I scattered the hot ashes and drizzled some water over them. Then I cleaned up the cabin and boogied for home.
I love my hollow, but I sometimes feel melancholy about the pace I'm keeping. Sometimes I feel like I'm never going to get everything built the way I want it; or at least, by the time I do I'll be too old to enjoy it. But then I look at the grandcubs. To them, Grandbear's cabin is a magical place, perfect of its kind. They're excited to see the house a-building, too. And they look forward to all the fun in the woods they can have. When I see my peaceable kingdom with my rapidly ageing eyes, I see possibilities foreclosing; but when I see it with their eyes, I see all the possibilities opening up. If I last long enough to see them grow up, and share their boyhood with them as they do, then I will have as much joy out of my land as anyone could hope for.
Dusk in the hollow