After a lifetime a grown man realizes that his creativity and problem solving abilities were in large part because of the challenges his father put before him when he was a boy.  

Past winds of change, through smoke and distant thunder a man returns home, to a  light of time when, as a boy he was made to work, despite tears of pain and resentment on Sunday afternoons during the coldest days of winter splitting elm logs to be sold as firewood.

His days of youth gone forever much of the pain and resentment he felt toward his father, still remains.


Through his inner eye the man watches his father temper a boy’s life by teaching him how to split fire wood from elmwood stumps using steel wedges and a heavy maul.  The elmwood stumps not quite dry, the wood stringy and difficult to separate took two, three or even four wedges strategically placed to split each piece of firewood from the stump.

Each stroke of the heavy maul driving the wedges into the elmwood stumps brought with it a constant flow of creative challenges; reasoning to be explored, better ways to do the work.

The man realizes that the creative thought he has used throughout his life stemmed from the challenges his father gave him on those cold, gray Sunday afternoons splitting wood next to a fire fueled by logs the boy split apart from the elmwood stumps.


The split logs neatly stacked as cords of firewood; each piece, imbued with separate lines of thought, different patterns of creative thinking he realized, had become the standard for ingenuity he carried with himself for the rest of his life.  The result he realized, of his father’s efforts to give him the gift of highest distinction,

the power of thought.

A way of thinking the man realized, that sparked the fires of his creativity.

Lessons the boy took with him into adulthood learned while working with his father next to bonfires fueled by the stringy elmwood he split from tree stumps using steel wedges and a heavy maul on those cold, gray Sunday afternoons during the dead of winter.