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Chopping Wood Builds My Spirit

September 3, 2015


We all need wholesome activities 
that make us stronger.
Ted describes the satisfaction 
he gets from chopping wood.
What's your bliss?

"I desperately needed to do something to regain my sense of self."

by Ted

One year ago, I retired after nearly 26 years of working as a prison guard. My sanity was under siege. I was emotionally exhausted. I had been through two marriages and two divorces. I desperately needed to regain my sense of self.

I grew up out in the country so I felt a pull to return to the rural life. This lead me to a small town in the mountains of Eastern Oregon where I found a small log cabin which sat on one-and-a-half acres and borders the national forest. I immediately fell in love with it.

I moved in and began to prepare for winter. The main source of heat is a wood burning stove. My buddies and I cut firewood and piled it in the driveway. I have always loved cutting firewood... been doing it since I was a boy. And there's nothing quite as cozy as wood heat. The deep radiant heat will completely warm you on a cold winter's day.


One of my goals was to obtain at least 15 cords of wood. (One cord of wood measures 4 feet high x 4 feet wide x 8 feet long). The reason: Should I get sick or hurt and can't cut wood, I will still have plenty on hand.

First, I cut the trees on my property that were blocking a magnificent view of the mountains. The rest I had to find in the forest. My method was to go out early, cut a dead tree, bring it home, split and stack it. I would usually have the job completed by mid afternoon. I would then go out and do it again the next day.

Cutting firewood provides a lot of personal satisfaction and fulfillment on many levels. The first is becoming stronger. Operating a chainsaw and lifting 80 pound tree stumps all day will build a lot of muscle and make you "farmer strong".

I also feel like a man because I am providing for myself with my own two hands. There's nothing quite as satisfying as producing something directly related to your survival. Canning my own food is another such activity.

My granddad and great-granddad were loggers when they were young men. Gathering wood in the forest gives me a unique, almost spiritual, connection to my ancestral roots. I'm pretty sure that I can hear them cheering with each tree I topple over.

When I do simple tasks that don't require a lot of concentration, such as splitting and stacking wood, my mind wanders. I solve the world's problems and plan my next project. I think about my friends and family and wonder what they're doing. It's also great therapy as I work on my own personal struggles.

Pine trees release a substance called a-pinene.  A-pinene is an anti-inflammatory which opens up your airway passages. Have you ever noticed that while walking in the warm air of a forest, you seem to breathe better and just feel better? That's the a-pinene. I think this is what John Denver meant when he wrote Rocky Mountain High. I experience this "high" and a wonderful sense of well-being every time I cut wood.

But the best feeling of all is the feeling of pride I have when I look at that big stack of wood. Not only does it represent my hard work, sore muscles, mashed fingers, cuts, scratches, slivers, sweat and accomplishment but it's also an amazing work of art ....if I do say so myself!

Related- How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain
New First Comment from Bill in Montana -

A most refreshing article about Ted and the wood chopping building his spirit.  I surely can relate to his experience.  I retired to the mountains of the Inland Pacific Northwest after two careers, and like Ted found my dream place to retire on a few acres and a cozy little home that I built.  I suppose the jobs and three divorces left me mentally depleted.  It's been fives years now and I've never been sorry for making the choice to escape the rat race and move to God's true paradise.  Now, it's only me and Murphy, my Aussie Shepherd dog and best buddy.

Murphy and I have only a wood stove for heat.  It gets very cold in winter here in NW Montana and the snows do pile up and sometimes just keep piling up.  We cut all of our wood from the five acres we live on... I turned the big 70 last year and don't move as fast as I used to, so cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood doesn't go as easy as it did a few years back.  I don't know how many more years my Heavenly Father will enable me to continue my love of gathering and cutting firewood.  But, since the wood stove provides all the heat, I must tackle the task and press on.  However, wood cutting is something I've done since my youth and I am not a novice to it! There is something magically rewarding about cutting firewood that is difficult to put into words.  It does something for my spirit too - it is rewarding, builds character both mentally and physically.  Nothing beats a wood fire to warm heart and spirit.  In fact, Murphy has his own little bed in front of the stove where he lays when the fire crackles night after night.  I do believe it warms his heart and spirit also - I do think that dogs have some kind of a spirit as well, even if it doesn't say so in the Bible.

So for Ted in Eastern Oregon, keep up the good work there my friend.  Press on and keep up the good fight, and when day is done and you're sitting in front of that wood stove watching the flames dancing and listening to the crackle of the pine and fir, have a cold one for me, because I'll be doing the same for you.


Scruples - the game of moral dillemas

Comments for "Chopping Wood Builds My Spirit "

Peter said (September 4, 2015):

Wonderful! Reminds me of the Old Days when I was a kid.
As for Al Thomson, below, he reminded us of the Nazi (Bormann) Illuminati and their rotten disrespect for life anywhere.

As for the Pope, he may be the Anti-Christ.

Al Thompson said (September 4, 2015):

I think this chopping wood story is refreshing.
Cut wood, burn it, get heat. Simple. However, he may have some legal problems. Natural law and man-made laws don't usually mix. Legal is man-made and natural law is what God created. This is why he enjoys the work. He's actually accomplishing something useful. Here are some of the potential legal problems:

Did he get an environmental impact study?
Does he have a license to use the power saw?
Did he replant the dead trees that he cut up?
Did he check with the Department of Fish and Game?
Did he get a license to cut the trees?
Does he have a permit to use the wood stove?
Does the carrier or small tractor have the proper registration?
Did he have the permission of the US Forest Service and did he pay their fees?
Did he check in with Michelle Obama?
Did he check in with the UN Heritage group?
Did he check in with the Israeli foreign service, Illuminati, CFR, Freemasons, and the Bilderbergers?
And since he enjoyed it so much, there must be a tax somewhere. Maybe we should call it Wood Cutting Enjoyment Excise Tax. If you're having fun, then you must be doing something that needs to have a license.

Juniper said (September 4, 2015):

Anyway, I'm writing to simply state that I enjoyed reading your latest post. It's good to counterbalance articles exposing the NWO's evil deeds with content that's spiritually upllifting. After all, the Bible tells us to focus on all that is good and noble etc. Furthermore, I wrote to comment on the glaring double entendre in the post's title i.e. you could paraphrase the post as "Taming or sublimating my sexual energy builds my spirit". There are, of course, many eastern philosophies that vouchsafe this maxim. And of course, the Christian tradition also warns against the spiritually destructive effects of misguided lust. So, yes, I agree with the writer that exercise, experiencing the wilderness and living a "simple" lifestyle in tune with the natural world is the foundation of spiritual 'wellness' and physical 'wellbeing'. Being a nature enthusiast and a natural remedies advocate, I too have experienced therapeutic healing through living in harmony with the natural world.

Dan Abshear said (September 3, 2015):

I agree with him about the benefits of such exercise especially outdoors. I've always believed physical exercise does more for a person then any drug that exists. My job right now is physical labor and I feel great now because of the work I do right now. And right now I live with people who are depressed and recovering drug addicts. Those who do have physical labor jobs often have a jovial nature and their dispositions are stable and balanced compared with those who do not exercise during the day. I wish more people did more exercise- the world may be a better place for all of us.

Marco A said (September 3, 2015):

That was a nice read.

"My granddad and great-granddad were loggers when they were young men. Gathering wood in the forest gives me a unique, almost spiritual, connection to my ancestral roots. I'm pretty sure that I can hear them cheering with each tree I topple over."

If the feeling is genuine, its not an almost spiritual connection, it is a spiritual connection.
Every time I visit the Italian ghost town where my ancestors are from in the Apennine mountains, I'm always overpowered by the feelings it brings me, feelings I forgot existed until I am in those mountains. It is real. Its a very beautiful thing, Its like I can almost touch them all the way back to Roman times, and if Ted feels this, then I think he found a good place in life to recuperate.

To tie this article back to the Illuminati etc.. Al Thompson's comment gives some perspective; in that in one way or another the government will be there to ruin your day, but that's the nature of the Beast 666 system: total control.

And Dan's comment concerning Agenda 21 is well placed too. I wonder if all these recent BC forest fires forcing people off the rural lands into the cities are not malicious in nature, hmm.. Why cant the crappy cities ever burn down?

As for the Pope, imagine if the Pope actually would talk about freemasons, the illuminati, the Satanic conspiracy, the beast 666 system? Well... if he did, he wouldn't be such a pawn to evil powers in control of the world. I'm sorry, but the whole world suffers from this conspiracy, why cant he do his job and speak and protect the flock?

Dan said (September 3, 2015):

I didn't know about a-pinene, but just reading Ted's description of the 'Rocky Mountain high' is exactly right. I always wondered why I'd wake so rested and energized after a night in sleeping bag on the ground in the pinewood forests in early autumn.

Today, most young men think that achieving a 'hard body' from the gym means they aren't soft. But I always knew better than that. The New Deal social engineers and city planners herded millions off the farms and into combat boots and rewarded them with a low interest GI Bill home mortgage to lure them into suburbs where the closest thing to plowing the back forty is mowing the lawn.

Growing up in suburbs and cities, or even moderately rural places boys grow up soft. I knew that as a boy from summer visits to old relatives who still lived on their modest family farms. That's been over fifty years ago.

In all my life I was never so fulfilled and 'whole' as the years I lived 'off the grid' in forested country. I did it off and on during a fifteen year stretch of my youth. (We called it 'back to country' back then.) Do it for a winter and you'll see just how labor intensive men and women's daily lives used to be in North America not so long ago. I don't think anyone can imagine or know the feeling of being 'whole' and grounded if they've never done it. It is truly a spiritual thing, as Ted says. In fact it's how human beings were made to live and those who can still do it are better off.

During those years my goal was to be able to live in the woods permanently by the age I am now. But I was a chain smoker, so now I'm oxygen. I struggle to take out the garbage once a week. So I want to say to any young men (or women) read this article and are inspired - QUIT SMOKING, and do it. I wish I had appreciated how much power and energy comes from simply having clean, healthy lungs.

I'll close with a message to Mr. Thompson: If you happen to see the Pope later this month you can tell him from me, DEATH TO AGENDA 21!

Michelle said (September 3, 2015):

Funny enough, the Bible says ( & I don’t want to come across preachy here so I will be quick!) … that it is Good for man (men) to work with their Hands … In my opinion, men are sooooooooo “feminized” now a days L that is sooooooo UN-attractive to us sweet femimne non – men hating gals ~ Anyways, I do not believe that men were really meant to work in little cubicles etc
It was also so nice to see such an UP-BEAT, POSITIVE, PRO-ACTIVE article on Henrys site ! As we all know, Henrys site is so full of truth, it is just Amazing !! BUT articles like yours a nice change and break from all of the bad stuff / dark stuff shenanigans out there ~ So, again, Thanks for letting us in on your life !!

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at