Maybe developers will buy him out and he’ll make a fortune; much more than his firewood would bring.
Spring danced in this week, tentative and teasing. She followed on the heels of deadly tornadoes, torrential rains, and record lows, and she will most likely get our hopes up before dashing them again with an abrupt retreat.
But for now she’s here, and daffodils nod a confident welcome despite her reputation for capriciousness.
photo by Bebe Nicholson
I bolt outside and head down the street, thrilled to see a deer nose through the hedge. She watches me curiously, velvet eyes wide, and a hawk’s strident call pierces the air.
Another sound, the buzz of a saw, draws my attention to the man at the end of our block. He is cutting logs, chainsaw working ferociously, mountains of firewood growing into mini-barricades across his lawn. He has always sold firewood, but now there is something manic about the way the stacks proliferate despite spring’s approach.
Who will buy all that wood, this late in the season?
When we first moved to the neighborhood 30 years ago, his house on the outskirts of our subdivision sat on undeveloped land stretching to the edge of the creek in rambling, wooded acres. His firewood stacks were smaller then, with enough wood to accommodate his family and a little left over to sell.
photo by Bebe Nicholson
Hs red barn with its chipped and peeling paint is a remnant of more rural times. I used to feel we were in the country when I turned down our road and saw the barn perched like a sentry against exploding development.
When we first moved here, I frequently got lost on our forays in search of a grocery store. After a half hour of driving, the children would roll their eyes and moan, “Mom is lost again!”
Now development has taken over. A brand new subdivision is springing up around his firewood and his barn, with a real estate sign advertising homes for “$800,000 and up.”
Who would pay that much? I muse. But I know someone will because condominiums crammed onto land that once housed small ranch homes with carports are selling for a million dollars each!
Our area experienced a technology boom. People with high-paying jobs poured in, farmland morphed into upscale mixed-used developments and the roads I used to explore in search of a grocery store are crammed with cars.
Maybe he is thinking his firewood business will boom along with all this new development.
Yet somehow I don’t think entrepreneurial zeal is his reason for the ever-growing stacks. His firewood seems more like a defiant gesture against the change that brought $800,000 homes to the edge of his barn.
Maybe developers will buy him out and he’ll make a fortune.
I would miss the red barn. Million-dollar homes are a dime a dozen, but the barn nudges my memory and takes me to a different time.
He continues to cut firewood and I turn toward home, cherry blossoms scattering like confetti. Spring will most likely retreat. It’s only March. But for now, I’ll enjoy the sun’s warmth and the occasional deer emerging from the thicket to test the pavement, then turn back toward what’s left of woods and creek.