Make no mistake

If I could choose to do one thing and actually make a living at it, it would be woodworking. I love wood. I love creating, making mistakes, fixing my mistakes. The whole process is something that I am in love with. It’s like a meditation. Just me and tools and wood for hours.

It took a long time to love making mistakes. When I first started woodworking 15 years ago, I would get upset and beat myself up for days when I made a mistake. I would abandon projects that I screwed up. Scattered around the house and in my shop were my wood orphans: table tops with no legs, table bases with no tops, cutting boards that needed planing, cabinets with no doors, warped cabinet doors. It was like the Isle of Misfit Furniture. But slowly I started figuring out that nothing is a mistake with woodworking. Wood is easily repaired and my mistakes are opportunities to learn how to build better. I actually look forward to screwing something up now; it means that I am still learning.

I always seem to be in the right place at the right time for free lumber. Several times I have been offered to rummage the contents of old barns containing treasures of dusty planks, splintery huge beams, and sections of trees. It’s like opening presents when I get home with a load of wood. I never know what I have until I cut or plane a board and find something amazing like tiger maple, red cedar, crazy grain patterns (which I love). Or four-inch thick boards I thought were pine turn out to be walnut. Score!

This week was the first time in 12 months that I stepped foot in my shop to work on furniture. I’m building a six-foot mahogany bar top and a large hutch from pre-used wood and local fallen trees that I milled. Time stops when I’m creating. I immerse fully and there are no thoughts of anything other than what it is that I am working on. Being 100% in the moment sounds so simple, but in the whirlwind of life I don’t find myself there near enough.

I forgot how good this feels.

 

 

 

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6 responses

  1. Leah, I hope you are continuing to enjoy your work. I actually think of you here and there hoping the positive is outweighing the negative for you during “remission” or “post cancer”. It’s been ok for me except not returning to myself physically – being another soul who gains so much fulfillment in physical activities and accomplishments. Wishing you well.

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    • Hello! I am here and doing well. Life has sucked me back in to its chaos. I have much to blog about but haven’t slowed down enough to write. It’s true, we will never be the same physically. On my good days I think it’s opportunity to hone other ways of being in the world, on my bad days I’m pissed, resentful and sad. Through both days I’d like to think I’ve learned, but god damn it’s hard sometimes. I am so glad you are here and well.

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