Wood fires are a kind of prayer, because prayer rises like incense to heaven, and woodsmoke rises to the peaceful sky like the incense of prayer.
The wood we burn comes from two places. Our compressed sawdust briquettes, which burn as hot and long as coal, are a by-product of saw mills – for the words of Jesus, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing may be lost”. Our logs come from a tree-surgeon, cut from diseased or dying trees that have to come down for safety and the health of the woodland, they are mixed hardwood and softwood. Sometimes we have some oak logs in the mix.
An oak tree takes three hundred years to grow to full maturity, then rests for three hundred years, then takes three hundred years to die.
So when I light the fire from the dead twigs of old trees, add split logs and close the door of the stove, I am mindful not to be too busy for wonder.
Here, on my hearth, warming my tiny little house, slowly released in kindly comfort to keep the chill away, is the sunshine of a thousand summers.