Flames race toward the top of the combustion chamber before igniting as the edges of kindling in the wood stove start to glow. Not far from the stove a nightlight provides another source of dim light to my feet as they shuffle across the concrete floor during the midnight hour. I've been up and down every few hours at night trying to keep the stove lit to stay warm, and for the first time in a long time I begin to wonder if I wouldn't be better off settling for a higher electric bill.
Call it nostalgia or some type of fascination with parts of a childhood memory that I stubbornly refuse to let go, I continue to put myself through this chore winter after winter for reasons I can't always explain. Heating by wood brings comfort but it can also become a chore as the season wears on. I wonder how many years I will want to do this before it is no longer fun.
I begin to think now, as it becomes more difficult to wake throughout the night to keep the fire burning that this style of living is really more of a younger man's game. Then I laugh at the thought and think to myself, "You're 45, not 80!"
Perhaps paying that higher electric bill isn't so foolish after all.