Today has been spent working outside, stacking about a cord of maple I picked up at a fellow’s house late yesterday. Before I could begin building my firewood stack, I had to clean and level a corner near the parking area. It’s amazing how much time and effort such minor tasks can take. I’d figured a half day, then head off to the building supply store for some plants and seed for last week’s completed bed; maybe mow the yard afterwards. Ha! A dozen hours later—minus breaks for lunch, the occasional rest, twenty minutes of fishing off my stone steps (time enough to catch one decent smallmouth bass), and about half an hour to hose out the debris in the back of the pickup from hauling the firewood—I’m beat, hungry, and in desperate need of a shower. But that’s okay. It’s been a good day, bright sun, blue sky, not too hot—with something of real value to show for the effort. I like such work days. There’s something quite rewarding to doing a job which goes directly to the fundamentals of your life. Next winter—or more likely the winter after, if I give the maple extra seasoning time—I’ll reap the benefit of today’s labor. Wood, fire, heat, comfort…a straight-line connection which would have been familiar to a settler living along this river a couple of centuries ago, or a Shawnee five hundred years before that; heat has always been a key need for winter survival hereabouts, along with food, water, and shelter. Still, today hasn’t been all work. For one thing there was the Carolina wren which serenaded me practically from start to finish, along with the cardinals whistling from the evergreen tangles and the goldfinches working the feeders. Then there’s the “found” rose, a rich salmon-orange, which appeared beside the chimney the summer after I moved in, and today sported a dozen huge blooms. If you can't find pleasure in the occasional glance at such beauty, you need to reexamine your criteria. So that’s my Sunday report from the riverbank. Nothing exciting, nothing out of the ordinary…but a day of ample reward.