Friday, June 01, 2007

I am in South Florida to teach a class for the South Florida Woodworker's Guild. It seems that it rains whenever I visit Florida. So today the drought that has plagued South Florida for months is ended, and the news program on TV in the motel is wondering if the rain will end. But the rains today have nothing to do with my arrival. Today is the start of hurricane season.

It is so odd for me to be watching TV, and I am about to turn it off. It mesmerizes, so who can be blamed for succumbing to its power? Something will come on the news, and we think, "Oh, I'm so glad to know that!" And "what if we were to turn it off and miss something?" But it is better to read. It requires attention, and most things that are worth doing require attention. Attention is a skill that grows stronger with practice. To be required to apply one's attention consistently for any great length of time can be agony for those used to being entertained by rapidly moving images and rapidly changing context. So it is good to shut off the TV.

We live with distraction, and we are surrounded by people who offer us only their distracted selves... not their totality, but half-assed, half-caring, vaporous, partly present shadows of their true potential. What if we were to fully live, giving ourselves in total to the task at hand? It is why some of us are drawn to craftsmanship. Making something beautiful and meaningful requires us to offer more of ourselves, to the present moment and to the future.

Tomorrow at 8:30 A.M. Eastern we make boxes. I plan to show some photos of our fun.

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