I recoil at the thought of considering that which I love a burden or the things that feed me being a bother. But there are days, when a turn to the left or gaze to the right will add a parcel of things to my already hefty to-do list, and leave me pondering when will I get it all done?
As one friend’s frank father put it after visiting my home and hearing my plans and ideas for the place, “Tom, just how long do plan on living?” By his calculations, completion of my project list would exceed any date found on any actuary chart for any country (or planet). And this is why I never do the math.
When mentioning my dance card of to-dos to my friend and neighbor Dan, he offered up some elegantly simple advice, “Chip away Tom, just chip away.” As a man who could reroof his house, fell a couple firs, and fix a tractor before lunch, he knew of what he spoke. I embraced his words and sought to rethink my approach.
As an example of the effectiveness of Dan’s axiom, behold the wood pile. I have stared at and ignored two large (though oddly artful) stacks of log rounds in my meadow since April, knowing a day of log splitting fell somewhere on my enjoyment meter between tooth extraction and watching a PBS fund drive.
So last week, I promised myself that I would split four rounds into eighths each night after work. Because the ‘chip-away’ number was small, I would often split a few more. Ten days later, the logs are ready for the woodstove and my next chip-away task: stacking. I’d have to say doing a little something gets you farther than doing a little nothing. Yep Dan, you were right; chip away, indeed.
To bad it doesn’t stack itself