Although, I wouldn’t know.
They haven’t really told me.
I have a woodpile in my driveway.
I live in a place where people take a lot of pride in how their home looks.
Not so much.
I like my woodpile.
Slowly but surely, I’m working away, sorting pieces to stack and pieces to split.
I’m letting my wood cure, bark side down in the driveway.
It’s been there for two and a half months so far.
Several neighbours have commented: “You’ve got a lot of wood there eh?”
“Taking your time stacking it eh?”
My response is generally glowing. I love my woodpile.
I love seeing it, splitting it and moving it.
They may be chatting with each other about it.
Luckily, no one can complain to me directly.
Yes, they might not like how it looks.
Not my problem.
I imagine - perhaps falsely - that people comment on each others yards on the social media group based in our neighbourhood. People in this area like to pay attention to what the others are paying attention to. They seem to like to offer ‘helpful’ advice.
They seem to want to fit in.
In this tony part of town, a woodpile, though legal, is unsightly.
Just wait until the chickens arrive.
The woodpile serves a secondary function.
In addition to attracting the attention of my neighbours and providing me something to do in the evenings, this wood will be a source of heat for my home.
It’s a multi-purpose wood pile.
I get to throw wood, split wood, sort wood, stack wood, whittle spoons from the wood, irritate the neighbours and eventually heat my home.
But wait, there’s more!
When I burn the wood in our wood stove I get to stare at a flickering light.
This flickering light?
It doesn’t have algorithms that make me feel insecure or irritated.
Instead, it soothes me.
This flickering light?
It doesn’t attract trolls or busybodies.
Instead, it attracts teenagers to the common areas of the house.
This flickering light doesn’t cause me to feel rage, alienation or contempt for my fellow humans.
Instead, it reminds me of all the humans who connected around these flickering lights for millennia before me.
This flickering light doesn’t constantly deliver to me images and ideas that fester with fear and certain doom.
Instead, it reassures me. It cleanses my mind.
I wish my neighbours would put down the flickering lights in their hands. I wish we could share a big flickering light outdoors, in the middle of the street.
Because the flickering light of the old times provides warmth and opportunities for true connection.
The flickering light in our hands provides neither.