For Another Day

I need a new chain for the big saw, so I drive three miles up and over the mountain to the chainsaw repair and parts business our neighbor Mike recently bought from our other neighbor Scott. When Scott owned it, I could be there in under two minutes; now, it’s about five, or maybe a little more this time of year, when the mountain road – steep, twisty, heavily snowed – demands a very particular medley of restraint and aggression, particularly in our little two-wheel drive car, which is what I’m driving in part because the truck is in Minnesota with my wife, and in part because one of the small pleasures in my small life is clearing the snow-slick apex of the mountain road in a vehicle that’s ill suited to the task. I keep thinking I’ll grow out of it, but it keeps not happening.

At the shop I buy two chains for $15 each and a half-gallon of Mike’s excellent B grade maple syrup for $20. John and Mike and I stand and chat for a while, then Katie and Christian show up, and we all stand and chat for a while longer. Sugaring. Chainsaws. Concrete contractors. Outside, the sun is emerging. The temperature, already above freezing, is rising further. It’s going to be a very nice day, and I need to go, but really all I want to do is stay a while longer, to keep telling stories, keep listening to stories. I feel suddenly hungry for stories, starving for them, even the little ones. Maybe especially the little ones. The world seems so full of big stories. Too big for me to understand.

I really do need to go. I set my jug of syrup and my two new chains on the passenger seat of the car and head back down the mountain road. The car slips and slides through the corners. I’m thinking about getting home, stoking the fire, maybe pancakes. Town meeting. I like town meeting.

But that’s a story for another day.

17 thoughts on “For Another Day”

  1. Great one. Thanks so much for the increased frequency of posts. “…a very particular medley of restraint and aggression” – such a great line.

  2. Ya never want to grow out of those little, but important somehow, pleasures of life, pleasure being the operative word.
    One of mine is taking an onion or a turnip or an egg (!) out of the fridge and tossing it up as close to the ceiling as I can without touching it. So far so good.
    Btw, a little while back I asked you about your boys and what age they started skiing. You said they didn’t do downhill until they were teenagers. My grandkiddo just skied a double black diamond in the Berkshires in MA. He’s 4 years 4 months, started skiing the week after Christmas. I had to google double black diamond and was grateful I didn’t know ahead of time he was going to try this. Take care and be good…

    1. That’s a fun trick! I used to do it with the boys when they were little.

      And very cool about your grandkiddo! I agree: Sometimes it’s best not to know what they’re up to.

  3. I laughed out loud when I got to “but it keeps not happening.” Delightful and so very true! Hoping town meeting will be fodder for another post or two.

  4. Thanks for your writing again. I appreciate your love of the little stories
    Your non discriminating sense of awe for both the grand and the minuscule are inspiring
    Wish you and your fam the best

    From Saskatchewan

    1. Saskatchewan! So cool to realize this is being read all the way out there. Thanks for stopping by, Kris. And for your kind words.

  5. Just want to say thank you for your stories, big and small. I enjoy them very much, and really appreciate and value the effort and time you put into sharing them.

  6. Great stuff, who’d’ve (double contraction!) thought a story about buying a chainsaw chain would be interesting, but it was. Also, I’d love to hear more about the town meeting, too.

  7. Don’t ever grow out of it. It’s more fun to be a crazy insurrectionist. One of the small satisfactions we get out of life when we’re short on money and long on pluck. I love throwing a bale of hay in the trunk of my Volvo sedan and driving home with it, the lid partially open and tied down with twine.

    Renee from Caulifor-nigh-yay (since we seem to be saying where we are)

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