Page 10 - WCM 2022 Winter
P. 10

 Sally Libby
Regardless of the cold temperatures or how many inches (or feet) of snow, Clint always made sure his driveway was clear, that there were clear pathways to his dogs, and of course, the ominous woodpile that heated their home for the majority of the year. Each stick of wood was split and stacked by hand.
 the stories from some pretty amazing backwoods folks, sharing their adventures of daily life in the Maine woods. I couldn’t get enough of it! I read many books about adventure, such as Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, and Call of the Wild, White Fang, or anything else that Jack London wrote. Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat was another favorite. I read hunting magazines from cover to cover, especially the stories about adventure, facing danger, and misfortune in wild places. This sense of adventure deepened, and I sought ways of connecting to the environment with all of my senses fully, and without fear. Oftentimes this meant being cold, wet, and uncomfortable. I learned how to dig deep, push through it, and even enjoy the misery maybe just a little bit. It was in these moments that I felt really alive, fully present, and without compromise.
One of my favorite Jack London quotes is, “I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than
a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” This quote epitomizes the way I live, and the way I look at life.
I witnessed true grit early on learning from my
Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Clint from Fryeburg. My
aunt was what many would describe as a “tough ol’ bird,” a woman that could throw a canoe over her shoulder, with her fishing rod in the other hand, and return with a dinner of brook trout and a few wild mushrooms she gathered on her way back to camp. She was tough as nails, hardy, and the sweetest woman you ever met. She wasn’t afraid to swing an axe, or spend an entire day on the ice, fishing for smallmouth bass on Kezar Pond during the short gray days of February. Uncle Clint was a mountain of a man, and soft spoken. He was a true woodsman. He was the type of guy that would swing his axe all day, and if he broke the handle, he’d cut a piece of ash and trace out a new handle. He’d cut, whittle, and sand the new handle from this chunk of wood, and be back in business before you could blink. He taught me that each stick of wood warmed you 5 times. First by cutting the tree down, then by chopping it up, and again when you loaded it into the truck, followed by stacking it in
the woodpile. Finally, you get to enjoy the benefits of actually putting it into the stove for heat.
I looked up to him, not only because he was about 6 feet 5 inches tall, but also because he demonstrated what true grit was. His hands were calloused and
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