Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I keep trying to tell the story of Nääs and Educational Sloyd and my visit to Sweden and all that is preserved there, but I keep getting distracted. In the past, I mentioned that the shortest distance between two points in human affairs is never a straight line. The Chinese have called it "Happy Wanderings." It is a lot like the story of the man who invented the new nail in yesterday's post. It required his time spent at the wood end of the hammer. For me, my life as a woodworker required my time in college, the frustrations and unreality of my academic life to nudge me toward the solid terrain of craftsmanship, ultimately giving me something of meaning to write about.

I will get back to the story of Nääs. As often happens with real-life experience, it can't be processed easily and may take some time in reflection. It may come out in bits and spurts.

At this moment, it is good to note the wandering required in the human journey. The path with heart. While most parents and educators would want their children to proceed in straight lines toward some scripted success, a journey that has heart and soul is never scripted. It requires the white game we ask our children to play and it requires the black game they choose for themselves. When my daughter chose to attend Columbia University over a total all expenses paid honors program, I suggested to her that her decision wasn't rational. Her response? "Dad, if everything was rational, there would be no poetry."

So here's to poetry and wandering lines, journeys with heart and soul that take us beyond scripted bounds. The photo at the top is of the field where Otto Salomon gave his lectures in three languages. I am standing with Hans Thorbjörnsson, and Etsuo Yokoyama.

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