Sick Burn

We've been going pretty hard lately but today Sarah and I both ran out of gas and lethargy overtook us.

Didn't do much except burn the brushpile that's been accumulating in the driveway over the past few weeks of yard work. We'd prefer to compost it, either here or municipally, but a lot of it was invasive plants that nobody would take.

As a human, I'm genetically predisposed to find fire alluring, fascinating, and hypnotic. As a child pyromaniac, I narrowly avoided burning down our garage, and more than once melted my sneakers stomping out runaway fires my friends and I had started in the name of science. I'm more careful now.

Today's burn was difficult to start as the pile consisted mostly of blackberry vines, alder roots and shoots, wild rose (sounds charming but isn't), and scotch broom, much of it still green and none of it what you might call "dry."

But all it took was a cardboard box, some kindling, and a blowtorch. Strategy was to concentrate the fire in one place, get some coals going in the hotspot, then gradually push and fold the tangled mess over it. It worked! Fire is pretty reliable that way.

After it had just about petered out, Sarah remembered a large chunk of alder root sprouting multiple suckers which she had chopped and clawed out of the earth. We've got nothing against alder, we just don't want it taking over, so she placed it on the small pile of remaining coals (where video ends).

Well, guess where my afternoon went after that? I sat there for hours, massaging the configuration and feeding just enough wood to keep things smoldering, goosing the embers by reversing the hose on my cordless Makita vacuum for use as a blower. Finally, at long last, I had a purpose in life: reduce this fresh-cut root to ash.

That was enough. No podcasts, scrolling, or other distraction. Just me and humanity's oldest home entertainment system. 

Hiss and pop of steaming wood. The squawk of a heron overhead.

I wondered: does the amount of satisfaction one feels correlate proportionally with the size of the accomplishment?

My sense is it really doesn't. Some small things are immensely satisfying, whereas the big deals can feel almost anticlimactic. But don't listen to me. As a chronic underachiever, I'm perhaps too easily pleased.


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