Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Master and the Journeyman

Welcome to this week's 15-minute writing exercise. The word of the week is:
Here are the rules:
  1. The word will be posted every Friday, I will try to post it here by Friday or Saturday.
  2. FIFTEEN minutes is all you get to write.
  3. You don't have to start writing the minute you see the word, but you must set a timer once you're ready to write.
  4. You can fix typos and grammar mistakes and such, but you cannot add anything more to the exercise once the 15 minutes are done.
  5. What you write has to pertain to the chosen word in some way.
  6. You must write a minimum of 100 words.

Once again, the word for the week is June 15-21st is: Journey

Now - go write!!

His gnarled hands encased hers. In hers, she held a block of wood, wood she thought was useless, with that big knot in the middle of it.

He helped her turn it over and over, to look at it with new eyes. A skilled woodworker, he caressed the grain and pointed out the potential. Removing his hands from hers, he handed her the tools of his trade: a chisel, a file, a rasp, and sanding paper. "This will take time", he informed her. "The end will not be clear in the beginning. Go with you feelings, listen to your compass."

Hesitantly, she picked up the chisel. It was awkward in her hand and did not obey. Patiently, he let her try a few more times to gouge the wood, to master the tool. When he saw the anger flash across her face, he took the tool from her and demonstrated. “Apply a consistent pressure, follow the grain, don’t force the design,” he instructed. And just like that, a long wooden curl appeared.

Inhaling the smell of pine, she tried again. Soon a rough shape emerged. It seemed forever that she worked – a shape appearing – but no meaning behind the lines she was carving. Every direction she chiseled the knot seemed to interfere. Exasperated once again, she laid down the block and walked away. Wisely, he let her go. From time to time he talked to her about the rasp and the sandpaper and the file.

One day, many years later, the block of wood appeared at her house still in the crude shape she’d left it, along with the wood working tools. Still in the crude shape she’d left it. Yet somehow, the tools seemed to fit her hands better. Slowly she worked. In her head the admonishment to work with the knot, and not around it, reverberated. Picking up the more delicate file, she highlighted the knot, exposing the intricate swirls and whirls of growth and aging. Carefully, transforming the block into beauty, she learned how even a delicate tool like sandpaper, can mar a surface in unintended ways. The file, she learned, not only smoothed and removed, but could add texture to the piece.

Frequently, she called and wrote to the master woodworker. "How do I do this? What about this?" And, every step of the way, he held her hand and encouraged her. Sometimes he let go – only so she’d realize she’d been in control all along without his guidance. The piece still isn’t finished. Still she calls for his help. Still he is generous with his advice. Wise with it too, always waiting until it is solicited, never trying to change the design, just pointing out other ways the block can be carved – that allows the natural beauty to shine through.

The master woodcarver and the journeyman woodworker, walking along side by side on the path of life.

Happy Father’s Daddy, from your work in progress,



tp said...

That is a beautiful story ! There has to be somewhere in the writing world for you ! Keep up the good work and keep surprising and pleasing us ! Love, tp

tp said...

Journey =

I took a journey once - from my home town to my grandmother's. I wasn't old enough to care about what we were passing - only how soon would we be there? That went on for 10 years or so, until I grew up enough to see out the train windows as mother and I traveled. I always looked forward to 'getting' to Long Beach.

Then I became old enough to drive and have a car of my own. I have never taken a trip since that I haven't considered a journey. No trip, by car, by train, or by plane, if boring. I really don't care where I'm going to end up, it's the journey that draws me. There waiting are the gorgeous mountains, the evergreen trees, the rushing waters in the streams and rivers.

Or the desert with it's oh, so hot, sun, but such beautiful wildflowers in the Spring ! And the cactus that blooms has the most vivid, beautiful blossoms you've ever seen. Or the ocean blue, with the ever restless waves that draw me down to the edge of the surf to see what the waves have left at my feet. Shiny shells, big shells, little shells - they are all God's creatures and gifts to us.

I have never taken a trip since I learned how to drive, that I didn't wish I could stay longer, or go back again to see something I missed. And yet, if I never get back to those places, there is still a world of wonderful sights, waiting 'somewhere' for me.

This July, we are going back to the lake where we've been camping for the last 8 years, at least. I look forward to this trip more than I did the first time, because now I know what awaits me, but there's still so much that I haven't seen, that awaits me too !

Mit_Moi said...

TP, funny this genetic coding isn't it?

I really don't care where I'm going to end up, it's the journey that draws me. Yep, me too. I mean sometimes I DO care where I'm gonna end up, but I never ever mind the trip. I guess that's why I like that part of my job so much. Because if I don't go .......