This past Saturday was gorgeous- a beautiful sunny morning at our hacienda in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador.
Though we’re near the equator, our 10,000-foot elevation renders evenings a bit chilly. We love our fireplace!
Ecuadorian friends keep us supplied with firewood; however, from time to time it’s my job to stock the kindling. This involves collecting dead branches from around the property, as well as splitting fat logs into skinnier pieces.
While I enjoy the exercise, the first few times I played ‘axe man’ I exhibited a discreet LACK of skill.
I’d haul the axe over hard-as-I-could. I’d often swing short or miss the center, sending the blade careening into the dirt. Other times I’d swing long- the handle of the axe crashing against the log with a thud, transferring the energy back into my neck and shoulders.
Four or five swings might render one piece of fire-starter. Since no one was around to see, my male pride remained intact. However, it was painful and exhausting.
Boy Scouts was a LONG time ago.
This time I did different.
After setting the log to be split, I positioned myself and the axe. I took my stance. I closed my eyes and visualized a perfect center strike.
Rather than swinging with all the tensed might I could muster, I relaxed. I brought the axe back over my head, returning it with a nicely arced swing.
I got myself out of the way.
I let my swing find me and let the axe do its job.
The container was full in one-fourth the previous time.
As I loaded the kindling onto our front porch, it occurred to me- most things in life work this way.
We stress, we struggle, we attempt to force.
Whereas, so long as you’re doing good and right things, you’ll be supported- your ‘swing’ will find you. You simply must get yourself out of the way and let the ‘axe’ do the work.
I now have much greater appreciation for Abraham Lincoln’s observation- “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
How’s your swing?
Until next time,
P.S. My experience with the axe reminded me of a great scene from “The Legend of Bagger Vance”. It’s about finding your one true authentic swing. Here’s the clip. Enjoy!