I walked around the dead tree. It was too big to move so now the path I cleared over a year ago had a twist it didn’t start with. Then I stepped over the birch and the apple tree. Both dead when they fell across the path.
That’s when I started to think about the dead trees in the woods behind the farm as firewood.
I imagined myself cleaning up The Orhaned Woods. Cutting down the dead trees that were crowding the living ones. I imagined sawing the logs that lay across the path into pieces small enough to fit in the woodstove. I pictured myself beside a pile of logs, splitting them one by one with an ax.
But when it came time to getting the firewood out of the woods, I could only see myself carrying it out an armload at a time.
After a while I imagined me dragging the wood out on a sled made easier to pull on the icy snow. The same way people used to move big rocks. But when I got to the Gulley Bridge, the sled tipped over and the logs toppled into the stream.
I thought of the ATV Jon had at old Bedlam Farm and knew I didn’t want to bring such a noisy destructive thing into the woods.
Then I heard the wheels of the horse and wagon going by on Route 22. The Amish community is new to our area. But often enough I’ve seen or heard the wagon pass the house in the morning then again in the afternoon.
Now I listen for it. The clopping of the horse’s hooves and crunch of wheels on pavement awaken something inside of me. I want to be on that cart, holding the reins, a direct line between human and horse.
That’s when I thought of Fanny and Lulu. And my fantasy began.
Suddenly the three of us were in the woods together. Each donkey with a saddlebag on her back. Me filling them with logs then leading them out of the woods and back to the farm.
The only problem is that I’ve never been able to lead Fanny or Lulu anywhere they didn’t want to go. And they’d definitely balk at having anything on their backs.
Donkeys have been working with people for thousands of years. It’s what they do. Surely it’s in their DNA. Maybe Fanny and Lulu would welcome the work. Take to it naturally after a while. Maybe they’d enjoy the stimulation and attention.
Yes, it’s a fantasy.
It would take a lot of patience and work on my part. But I can’t stop thinking of it. And this morning as I spread out their hay in the feeder I sent them an image of us working together. Me leading them, the saddlebags filled with wood on their backs. An apple waiting for them back at the barn.
Just a thought, just a dream. But you have to start somewhere.