Last night I dreamed I was looking for kindling. I found some under the walnut tree at the west end of the house where I grew up. But it was wet, and it was not enough. And there was no firewood.
Paging through my book, One Hand Clapping, I found this entry:
April 6, 2003 — When I was a kid, I used to dig holes in the shade of the walnut trees growing by our house. My intention was always to live in them; when that didn’t work, I settled for long afternoons. My main occupation was reading old issues of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories. One hole, I remember, had a fireplace. The chimney was formed by driving an old metal horseshoe peg into the clay soil. All I had to do was light a few leaves, twigs, or pine needles, and then watch the smoke rise up through the chimney. Paradise. And I’m still quite good with a shovel. But now I usually dig my holes on paper — that is, when I’m not digging them by the stupidity of my actions. Sometimes I succeed in combining the two. This is always cause for celebration. Several years ago, we were told by the landlord of the house we were renting that the holes my children had dug in the backyard would have to be filled in. I said, “But they’re holes. Kids are supposed to dig holes. Didn’t you dig holes when you were that age?” His answer amazed me: “I did, but my father always made me fill them in.” And I thought, What a sad thing.