I made quite an issue of providing artificial kindling this morning. A full double sheet of newspaper, rolled into a long tube and tied in a knot. I put three of those contrivances in the wood stove, arranged a couple of large logs over them and set them afire. When I came back with my coffee a few minutes later, the logs were blackened, the paper was gone and so was the flame.
So stepping through the fog and out to the carport woodpile, I grabbed the hatchet and began to chip off small pieces of a larger log. Slivers mostly. A few cut away from the log as thicker brittle sticks--much larger than slivers, yet unimpressive. Carrying my treasures back inside I arranged them in a hollow pile, then poked the tiniest pieces of newspaper underneath them. Ah, the power of small beginnings.
I knew when I began with the grandiose display of knotted newspaper that my fire had little chance. Heavy logs take time to get in the mood for burning. But the sliver effect--the small beginnings of tiny flickers reaching ever larger tinder...makes ever larger fire. And now the large oak logs have surrendered. The cabin is warming and the box of fire is glowing. And the quiet, day-off morning is beginning.
Small beginnings indeed.