Being a person that loves the outdoors I look forward every winter to cutting firewood. Each year around September I remove my chainsaw from shed and make sure it is tuned up. Then through out the winter I head into the mountains to cut and bring the wood back to split by hand. I love the mountains and I love the work. There is nothing in the world like waking up in the morning and seeing a fresh sheet of crystal white shining from the tops of the mountains, and knowing that with in the hour I could be there. Nothing like stepping out of the truck into the crisp morning air away from it all and knowing I have a good days work ahead of me. It is what some people may describe as the simple life, but I would describe it as the essence of life. Man kind needs a task, needs time to complete it, and needs that feeling of accomplishment.
Around Christmas time I look for those who still heat their homes with wood burning stoves and are in need of some firewood. Since I don’t need most of what I cut I am glad to give it away.
Last Christmas I had some families in mind who I could deliver some firewood to. So I set the date to head up into the mountains to cut. I usually take someone with me, but it just so happened that no one could go with me on this certain trip. The day came and as I was getting ready to head out and my wife stopped me and said, “Don’t go please. It snowed last night and you might get stuck.”
Thinking my self invincible, as most kids do at age 23, I replied, “Don’t worry sweetheart. I will be back before noon.”
I headed out side and jump in the truck. It was a great day to go cut firewood, or so I thought. I didn’t notice the cloud build up to the south and was unaware of what was coming.
As I arrived at my destination I passed lots of good firewood, but the pull of the top of the mountain called to me and I decided to head higher. As I headed up the snow deepened and the truck started to slip and slid more. It didn’t matter to me I loved every bit of it. At the top I selected the best of the best wood, cut, loaded it, and jumped in the truck to head down the mountain. As I was starting to move I turned to the south and saw a black wall of clouds and decided it was time to hurry. That was one thing I couldn’t do though, because of the grade of the road and the considerable drop off to the right I had to take it slow. By the time I reached the bottom the storm hadn’t quit hit yet so I decided I would cut some cedar trees before I left. Well in that was my mistake even though I had the time then I didn’t after about 5 minutes. I pulled down a side road with a lot of cedar lining it. I parked the truck and cut several trees and loaded them and decided that was enough. When I went to leave I backed the truck up and all of a sudden I heard a crack and then felt the back end of the truck drop about three feet and stop. I jumped out and discovered what was covered by the snow. I was looking at a stream that was three feet deep that used to be covered by ice and snow. Then I remembered I removed my tool box in order to make more room for wood. My chains and come along was in the tool box.
Two hours later and during the heaving part of the storm I decided it was time to hike out and seek help. It was about a mile hike out to the main road and the whole time I heard my wives voice saying I told you so.
When I reached the road wet and tired it just so happened that someone was having problems with a trailer they were pulling and was stopped right there in the most unlikely place. He was able to take me to where I had cell service and I called home to have another truck come up and pull me out. The man I was with waited with me and let me sit in his truck to keep warm. We had a long talk about family friends and Christmas. We both parted that day feeling the true joy of Christmas. I will never forget the service he gave me without any complaint or judgment. Selfless service.
Well I got home and there was my lovely wife with worry evident on her face, but all she could say was I told you so.