I cannot stack wood without taking into consideration the aesthetic elements of the stacking. Colors, sizes, textures; all go into deciding where to place the next log. I do not do this by choice – I cannot not do it. The same goes with loading the dishwasher, mowing the grass, hanging laundry, or putting food on a plate. Having trained my mind to identify interesting patterns on paper or canvas, I identify them everywhere, whether I would or not.

When I look at trees or crowds or clouds, I think about lines and colors. (“Ah, some Payne’s Gray mixed with a touch of Ultramarine Blue and about 95% Titanium White would do it.”) The thing is, this is a tiring way of seeing the world. My counter-inner dialogue is often, “stop it, it doesn’t matter. Just stack the damn wood.” But no, I’ll move a log because it looks better over here.

Now this is not one of those faux-rants where some movie actor is bitching about having to be up early to make his movie. First, I don’t make movies. Or movie money. Second, like movies for the actor, this is a world view I have chosen, and I love it. I imagine other people see the world similarly: doctor’s note disease in passing faces, cooks break down food into recipes, salesmen read your body language. Only, sometimes, I wish my critical eye would just give it a rest. I can judge the aesthetics of the wood-pile in the winter when I’m burning the wood. And I’m sure I will.

fall tree