Unrequited Love and Wet Wood


If you’ve lived with a woodstove, you’ll know that its fire becomes sort of like a companion, an old friend to keep you warm. Unfortunately, the cord of wood I just bought is wet. It hadn’t sat long enough, but this goof sold it to me anyway (yes I, too, am a goof for buying it, but that’s not the point). The point is, last night, it was a little lonelier than usual in the cabin.

I wasted an entire newspaper, an empty egg carton, half of a giant cardboard box, and much of the evening attempting to get and keep a fire burning. My spirit dampening, I made one last ditch effort to heat things up. I dug out this hard cardboard filing case, something I’ve been carting around for years, and dumped its contents on the table. Combing through the pile, I set aside any flammable ‘garbage’; there wasn’t much, mostly just my Dad’s old tax return statement.

In the process, though, I came across some old handwritten letters–unrequited love letters. To be honest, I couldn’t put faces to any of the letters; they weren’t from past boyfriends, but from guys who’d had a crush on me. A crush? That’s putting it mildly. These pages were drenched in vulnerability, soaked in passion and dripping with compliments.

The rawness of their words affected me and I blushed as I read. Overcome with a sense of wonder, I took the time to look at her through the eyes of someone else. The words drew me in, like a warm embrace.

Needless to say, the letters didn’t make the to-burn pile, but went back into my accordion filing box to be read again someday, maybe when I’m old and grey and in need of a little warming up.

This morning, I jogged down to end of the road where the free newspaper box sits beside the highway; I grabbed four of them. The trick is to pile up lots of tight little newspaper bundles, then build a ‘teepee’ of kindling slivers around them–and finally, light the match.

Ah, heat.

cabin selfie


  1. …in the deep of winter up Rattlesnake Mtn ( near Grand Forks BC ) I had this morning routine … I would already have a stack of kindling prepared the night before…I would do a ten second countdown..throw back the covers ( and the cats)…jump 3 steps to the wood stove, stuff it with newspaper/kindling/ chopped pieces, like those dudes who change the tires at NASCAR and then fling meself back into bed until I could hear the roar of the fire…I was only 19 and too young to have letters from adoring/scorned women.…mostly drawings…and cord of wood back then was only $20….great story Tracey…thank you


    1. Brian, I’m so happy you’re reading my blog and not only that but taking the time to share your own story — and a good one at that. So, I thank you, too.


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