What Can Warm You

A Woodpile

This time of year in Pennsylvania, I can see woodpiles in the side yards of homes.  Folks use wood burning stoves or fireplaces to heat their homes in the cold winter. 

Every time I pass by these wood piles, I experience a particular nostalgia for warm, cozy rooms.  I can hear the crackle of the fire; I dream up the glow in the room.  I let the imagined heat embrace my face and hands. 

Mostly, I think about how secure that family must feel; they’ve stored up fuel for warmth.  They’ve planned ahead.  They’ve prepared for the cold winds.  A wood pile symbolizes a security against that inevitable change of season. 

I’ve passed that wood pile for several weeks now, and even this morning, I can’t help but smile at the warmth it will bring to that family.  The winter will come, and they will not just endure, but they will also have delight over these snowy days inside. 

I think about the change of season in my own heart:  winter.  When will it come?  When will I experience the next bitter thing, the next cold front that puts me inside?   I can’t know, but I can prepare for it.  I can store up all the truth I can; I can build up a pile of beautiful, good things to warm me through the next season of suffering. 

I gather each log–each moment of wonder and worship–and I stack it up for later.  When I need it, that truth can burn bright and warm and help me delight in what I must endure.  

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, / Kallerna)

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  1. I'm missing my fireplace and woodpile! My family has been renting a townhome after a move to Colorado, and we miss the fireplace at our last house. Because this townhome, you see, has not one but two fireplaces…and we can't use either due to a building code issue! 🙂

    Your closing thought sure brings it home. The logs we're gathering through this season will be a delight to the soul in the next season.

  2. hmmmm, I'm originally from PA and I can just see my family's backyard with our wood piled high. This imagry is simply perfect 🙂 Thanks so much!

  3. I am reading this book “Women Who Run with the Wolves”, in which simple things are explored to discover their symbolic meaning. Any external concept, event, observation can be applied to our internal lives. I am reading this book and the ideas and analogies are so enlightening and reassuring, that I want to store them in my memory, in the safest yet easy to reach place, to warm me up and fill with hope just as the cold and hostility of the external world will force me to withdraw.

    We tend to live with the fallacy that we are strong enough to withstand any winter. We downplay the destructive power of cold. With no supply of wood we risk to let the freezing wind extinguish the light and warmth inside. So just like you, I try to stock up on sweet memories, wise thoughts, nourishing ideas from the books – anything that can be retrieved to save me from despair.