I was splitting wood, oak and hickory, with a wedge and a sledgehammer, and somehow was not able to tire myself regardless of how frustrating it sometimes became. My son watched. Now and then he handed me the small ax. He saw me try to split those pieces of sweet gum that someone had left in the woodpile we’d inherited with the house, and that I, in my ignorance, treated just like the other wood. He saw how, with these logs, the wood opened but did not split, how it grabbed the wedges and, hard as I hammered, would not let them free. He saw two wedges stuck and my useless, endless hammering, and he asked, Dad, what are we going to do now? and I, not knowing, ashamed to admit defeat, looking at him for a moment, laid my heavy arms down.