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Schlepping Firewood

Posted By Mary C. Reiley, Monday, December 15, 2014


     Sunday I schlepped firewood.  For those of you that aren't married to a Long Islander-Virginian,  that means I moved firewood from  “Bob’s Wall of Wood” (it certainly doesn't challenge the fantastic stacks I've seen in Duluth, MN, but for rural suburbia it is a conversation starter) at the edge of the woods that abut our backyard to the rack just outside the door of our family room. With my spouse away on business, my son away at college, and my two teenage daughters in bed (it was 9 am on a weekend), I donned blue jeans, a long sleeved t-shirt (protect the forearms), boots, work gloves (no splinters), and a ponytail and set out with the wheelbarrow.  


     It took a little over an hour to fill the outside 4’x6’ rack, the fireplace mini-rack, the fireplace itself, and clean-up the debris from the deck and wheelbarrow. Schlepping in this house is a very thorough process. Ten trips to and from the “Wall of Wood” and up and down the deck stairs with alternating full and empty arms.  Wheel, load, wheel, climb, stack, descent, climb, stack, descent, climb, stack, descent, repeat . . . You get the idea. It was a great workout for a beautiful Sunday morning.  For the fitness nuts out there: 1 hour full body workout = 516 calories. I know. I wore my workout monitor.

     So why am I telling this story?  It’s all about that balance thing I talked about at the closing plenary in Vancouver. The wood had to be schlepped and I had to exercise.  Multitasking at its best.  In fact, multitasking perfection:  two activities, both have to be done, and doing them together optimized the benefits of both (faster wood schlepping and stronger, healthier me).  But it’s more than just completing the tasks.  It was an hour of free mental time to let my mind wander, enjoy the sunshine, breath fresh air, re-energize after a busy week of work and holiday prep. A reset on my state of mind.  


     I also enjoyed a warm fire all day as I puttered around with other chores. I knew the wood schlepping could now come off the list and when my husband returned that evening from his trip we could sit by the fire and catch-up.  I knew that having a fire on the hearth would draw the kids in and dinner time and family time would be all the better. I was right.

     I could have skipped the wood schlepping, chosen to go for a run or a bike ride.  Or, chosen to skip the whole thing and go on to the rest of the chores. I’m glad I chose schlepping.

Tags:  Balance  SETAC-NA President 

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