I sometimes think that if I was given an axe and a pile of wood and a sunny winter’s day to chop it all there would be no finer, no more pleasing work to be done in the world. If this was to see the family through the winter all the more so. What do we get out of this? The physical effort, the exhilaration of constant movement, the exercise; shoulders round, legs strong, core tight, our belts needing another hole in it.
The fact that it is mostly an outdoor activity, feet in the snow, anchored in our boots and woollen socks, the snow slowly melting around us as the sun climbs higher in the day, shining its warmth upon us as we take first our jacket off and then maybe another outer layer eventually.
The sweat builds. The hands become calloused and blister if they are not already. Maybe they burst and bleed and the axe handle becomes a mix of wood and dirt and blood. But surely to top all this is the feeling of satisfaction that it gives, to go from nothing, nothing to the fuel that keeps ones family warm for another day, week, month, year, whatever. That has to be the most pleasing part of a most pleasing task.