One of the books I’m slowly, slowly working through this year is Essays Of E.B. White. Now, co-author of The Elements of Style and author of Charlotte’s Web is quite a resume right there, but White also contributed essays to The New Yorker among his other many writings. All this denotes a certain dual citizenship of sorts involving city life and country life, and indeed, the essays often revolve around the rhythms of nature and man in rural New England.
White’s attention in one essay (“Coon Tree,” written 1956) turns to the particular benefits and appeal of the big, old wood-burning stove in their house in Maine, as compared to its more modern companion. Despite the several stages of regular maintenance the stove requires, White testifies: