As of late, the act of typing on a keyboard has been an ordeal.

My hands are beaten and battered. But today, with sore fingers, I celebrate and feel compelled to pick and peck at the keyboard.

To appreciate the cause of celebration you need to stroll down the path from our porch stoop past our wood sheds, the outhouse, to a sinuous rabbit trail that turns east by the garden. There you will find fifty-seven shining pine logs stacked like a fleet of racked, overturned canoes. Yesterday, I finished peeling the bark from the logs, moving them ever closer to their transformation into a cabin.

For the time being there will be no more strips of duct tape wrapped over blisters and no more cold-numbed fingertips. No more rolling logs pinching fingers and hands. The wounds have been fairly minor but my right thumb remains tender, particularly where the reddened skin rolls like a gentle swell into the left edge of the nail. While not serious, the stab of irritating pain is awakened with each tap of that wonderful opposable digit as it jabs, all too frequently, at the keyboard spacebar.

On the same hand, the tip of the ring finger is slightly yellowed and feels like a hardened thick callous. Nearly all tactile functions of this finger are currently absent. I have little feeling there because I abused it during a cold afternoon when the air temperatures were below zero Fahrenheit and I allowed frostbite to nip me. My judgment, or lack of it, brought on this malady as I repeatedly pulled my mitts on and off to rig up my winch and lift the logs onto the backs of Sven and Ole, my stout sawhorses. Even as I felt the numbing coming on, my stubbornness urged me to finish one more log before the sun dropped below the western horizon.

Now with my right hand resting at ready on the keyboard, the frost deadened fingertip slips errantly to the north and east. Sometimes an “o” is pressed instead of an “l.” Other times I reach up to type an “o” and instead peck a “p.” I’m succeeding here in this piece of writing pnly because I’m being slpw and deliberate.

All fingers on my left hand are mobile and ready for the task of typing. But the palm is oh so tender. Over the last week, before heading out to resume peeling, I have daily applied a fresh strip of duct tape over a flap of skin opened beneath a pale yellow callous.  I have not given the blistered wound much chance of healing and I have been relieved that a handshake is done with the right hand.

I will miss the quiet time in the log yard. Peeling a log gives me great satisfaction. The unwrapping of a log’s skin brightens the day and begs the smooth stroke of my hand. The interplay of knots and wood grain reveals a new story from each log.

Now there is no need to hone the steel edges of the drawknife and axe every evening. No need to hang wet work gloves over the kitchen wood burning stove. Unnecessary to empty my pockets of bark shards before coming into the house.

Now I wait for the cycling of days and seasons to pull moisture out of the logs. Once they are properly cured I can move them, one at a time, to the building site where I will notch them, then lay them into walls, rafters, supports and a roof ridge.

I have met my deadline of completing the peeling by March 1. Now I can relax and get excited about meeting my first grandchild Eleanor.

Little Eleanor is three months old. And we are days away from rendezvousing with her on the island of Kauai.  Sore or not, my hands will feel no pain when I lift her to my chest and whisper of days ahead when we can sleep in a castle of logs.