Cup of coffee in hand and looking out over the fields, it is difficult to muster the motivation to give up the fire and go out to work. But, as always, there is work. This is not bad thing, it is just that the grey mornings and rainy weather have a tendency to dampen the spirit of working.
That spirit to work, that drive to do something, something meaningful defines who we are. Work is neither a right or a bane. Rather, it is that intentional act to give meaning. We do not have a right to work, we must simply work in order to have rights. Work is not a heavy load to bear with a dreary mind, work is what we do no matter our attitude towards it.
There is always work, and work can always wait. But why? Why make the meaning in our lives wait for sunny days or better dispositions? For those who do not understand the spirit of work, we are too busy. For those who misunderstand the spirit of work, we are not busy enough.
And so the coffee finished and a final log put on the fire, I don the overalls and you (perhaps) don a suit and we both work in the spirit of making meaning in our lives one minute at a time.
Happiness from the most unexpected places, even for moments in a day. There is a certain look in the eyes of creatures that if we learn to read them let us know that we are not the only ones that experience the world in ways that make us wonder.
When I go out to the workshop I must often wander my way through hens running for a snack. I pet a few as the clucks of anticipation follow me to the barn. The younger pullets are sometimes like the dog that follows me around the house when I’m in. Her comfortably perched on my bed after the morning walk.
The cat, not to be left out, nibbles a bit of food and then runs to the door to roll in the dust of the farm; old tree scratching posts and sun spots offering the warmth of the world.
At the corner store.
“I love that smell.” she says as she hands me my sugar for the bees.
“What smell is that?” I ask.
“The smell of wood; you’ve been working with wood.”
I nod and tell her that I have and I notice that happiness comes from the most unexpected places.
Work is not complicated. Today is not complicated. We simply must do what must be done. The morning was started with the dog and evolved to some carpentry. The sun out, became more beautiful as the day slowly grew. The wood cut, and lunch.
Out came the chicks; the sun would do them good. Enjoying the sunny day the chicks played and slept, ate and drank. Simple times; simple life.
The afternoon started slowly, the tractor in place and the chipper hooked up. The brush awaited. The chipper started and the chipping began. One pile, and then another. Almost Buddhist in its meditation: the brush goes in and chips come out.
The chips themselves simple in their creation. They will start as hen house bedding, and the compost and then on into the garden to start the cycle again. One day growing a tree that will be cut and used, even to its smallest branches.
The piles of chips, sitting in the sunshine, and a shovel. The old trailer brought to life but first the hitch attached to the tractor. The work is hard and the day is beautiful: both simple in their very nature.
The trailer full of chips and the stored for the winter. The day is simple; work is not complicated. As it should be; as it should be.
When all else is done, there is finish work. The details that make a house a home; it is the same details that make life worth living. But finish work takes time; there are many pieces to be placed, to be sanded slightly, to be fit snug in their place.
Finish work is quiet and it takes time, most often it takes much more time than we might believe. But finish work is what we walk into each and every day and each and every time we walk into a room. It is the finish that we see.
Carpentry is life and the finish work that we begin is reliant upon the work we’ve put into our lives in those years that seem to rush by and at the same time slow to a crawl. In our youth we build a house, sometimes hurriedly, and when we get older we cannot understand why the base boards don’t miter quite right or why the casing won’t quite meet the wall.
In our age and years of living we can no longer rush but are now slowed by the weight of time and it is then we are faced with the finish work in what we have built. Bad habits show and new habits form even without our knowing.
But it is in the finish that we learn that good enough is not nearly good enough for the finish work that we have to do.