I must be the luckiest aunt around.

I was talking to my older nephew, Luke, on the phone a few weeks ago, and mentioned we were getting ready for the major operation of fall — stacking and splitting firewood. “I love splitting wood,” he said. “I split it with an ax.”

I described the electric splitter we use to take fireplace-sized logs down to wood stove size. “Maybe I could come up some weekend in September and help you,” he said, bringing delight to my heart for more than one reason. We will not spend the whole weekend working, but a little aid from some youthful male muscles will be a boon to Maureen and me, as we're both a bit creaky in the joints.

I promised Luke we would save plenty of wood for his visit — we have three cords of seasoned wood to get through — but we have not been sitting on our hands in the meantime. We have already stacked two unsplit cords of green wood in the side yard to season until next spring, when we will need it to finish out the heating season.

We've also put away the hammock to make room on the porch and started splitting the seasoned wood and stacking it there. Luke and I will have to get some more pallets for the wood; Maureen has agreed to let me drive the Ridgeline, which is her baby, in exchange for getting to sleep in and have pallets magically appear.

If the weather is kind — and so far, that is what the weatherman is promising — the three of us will go for an ATV ride one day and spend most of the other on the wood. Of course, hungry nephews must be fed; Luke has lately discovered a fondness for lobster, so that will be on the menu while he's here. And my nephew, a dog lover, will play with our dogs, who love anyone who pays attention to them, especially if they throw balls (Cushla), give lengthy pats (Riley) and do good belly rubs (Nicky).

Luke's family are avid game-players, so in the evening we will probably have to get out the cards, or dust off one of the games waiting in the closet for enough people to be present. Unless Maureen lures him into the living room to watch football, that autumn scourge.

He is planning to apply to graduate school for next year, so this may be a unique opportunity to benefit from his wood-chopping enthusiasm. I'm just glad for the chance to see him and do things together — though his help with a big chore is most welcome. It is such a pleasure to have nephews and nieces who are — or are growing into — interesting, fun adults who like and enjoy people older than themselves.

Like members of older generations everywhere, I wish we had more time. Time is what we oldsters don't have: Time to do what we always promised ourselves we would, to use the wisdom we have accumulated and pass some of it on. Youth always seems to want to be older, doesn't appreciate the gift that being young itself is. If there is an answer to this conundrum, I suppose it is in keeping your heart and mind young even as time has its way with your body and your birthday cakes.

That's why having young people in my life is such a blessing: their youth is infectious. And maybe they will accidentally catch a particle of wisdom from me. May it be so.