Reading Wood

This morning, outside the workshop: “It is so very good to be back at school. Even though niether the library nor the workshop are open yet, I feel relieved, and insipired to study. It’s a bit like a fraction of what Harry Potter felt when he got back to Hogwarts…” Went from there to Menzies, the ‘Z’ section (my favorite), and ‘A History Of Reading’, by Alberto Manguel. Then a good bash at some woodwork: the lovely task of shaping a cylinder of wood by handplane only. This is one of my favorite meditations, so good at bringing home the importance of Process. Rotate the bit of wood in the cradle, feeling for the ridges; find one and put it uppermost; pick up the plane, plane off the ridge; repeat. Over and over it goes, my attention in my fingertips, on the weight of the plane in my hands, on my back as the central player in all of this. It almost seems a useless pursuit – why should I not spin this piece of wood in a lathe after all? – or attack it with a moulded scraper? – and it is only in doing it that one can see the point, so I’m not sure what to say here. All this time spent with one little bit of wood – not to make it perfect to any measure but touch – not even because I particularly want this thing round – but rather it gives me a a hint of the unseen. The something that is imbued in a piece of wood (or anything) that has been fashioned in this way, I don’t know what it is but I’m sure it is.

Today: I awoke seeking a busy day, but didn’t quite get it. I sat in the music library this morning, listening to Beethoven’s 5th, and pondering pondering. I thought, what a nice thing it is to sit and think, I should come here more often. A passage in ‘Howards End’ prompted me to seek out that particular piece of music, the goblins and shipwrecks, the tiptoeing from one end of the universe to the other. Fabulous (in the original sense).

A teriffic conversation with Ian, much inspiration for continued work, a new pen; a free concert (not that I got to see it ’cause I didn’t want to pay for lunch!), a quick bite to eat then work at the co-op; then tea at the Gods. A day gone, a passion for wood kept firing despite little work being done, and now home. Brill!


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