I woke up this morning and noticed that the woodpile in the woodshed had fallen over. This happens sometimes. I don't know exactly why. There are lots of possible reasons. It could be the ground under the stacks getting harder or softer, or it could be that I didn't stack the wood just right, or it could be that, as the wood continues to dry, the shape of the pile changes, the weight shifts, and the whole thing topples over.
I can't say for sure. It seems that no matter how carefully I stack the wood, this happens sometimes. The one thing I can say is that the pile has fallen over and I have to re-stack it.
This gets me thinking about acceptance. Part of acceptance is accepting that I have to re-stack the wood. But it occurs to me that another part of acceptance started a while ago; The part connected to my knowing that when I stack wood, it might fall over.
Here at the cabin, our wood system in ongoing. I drop trees in late summer/early autumn for the following year. When I'm not dropping trees, I am bucking up the wood from the previous year, getting it ready to split.
Around this time of year, I start splitting and stacking wood that has been drying since last year. That doesn't mean it's completely dry, however, and as a result it is continuing to change. Just like the planks and the cinder blocks and the soil I stack it on. Everything is in a constant state of flux, and though it seem like I am piling one static log onto another, the truth is that the whole picture is in constant motion, making miraculous the fact that the pile doesn't fall over every year.
As I continue to pull back the frame of acceptance, from accepting that the pile has fallen over and the effects that has on my plans for the day, to the reality that the pile might always fall over and that it might fall over after I have re-stacked it, to the fact that the wood is never completely dry and static, nor are the kiln-dried planks it rests on, to the constant movement of the Earth upon which it all rests, I realize that acceptance is more than a practice I take up when I see that something has happened. Acceptance is a way of being that connects me to the ongoing flux of everything. Rather than I tool I can use to deal with day to day situations, it can be a mindset that day to day situation call me back to, through which the particular details of the day find a more meaningful context within the larger frame of life.
In this way, the stacking and re-stacking of wood becomes a reflection of a much larger set of choices. Choices I have made that reflect intentions I have for living. My re-stacking of the wood is no longer a mundane task, but a testament to the confluence of choices leading up to this moment, right here right now. Within this way of thinking, stacking wood, and everything I do connects me to the Sacred, by aligning me with the constant flux of everything. A confluence that began long before me and will go on long after me.
This idea of acceptance transforms what might have been a way to get through the commonplace, into a practice that reconnects us to the eternal. Rather than accepting what we have to do, that we might not want to, we can accept our connection to the constant unfolding of everything and where, within it, we are. In this way, acceptance is not a return to the flow, but a recognition that we are continually a part of it.
With that, I'll go out and re-stack the wood pile, meditating on my connection to the infinite.