Thursday, September 24, 2009

In touch with soul

There is something very special about being engaged through hand and eye with the tactile qualities of the universe. It is hard for me to believe that this would be hard for anyone else to understand. Perhaps there is no need to explain, but as I watch children and young adults hunched tightly over their hand-held electronic devices I wonder. Surely we are all engaged somewhat joyfully in the physicality of the universe, but we should take great care that none slip through the cracks.

I have been mourning the loss of our dog Tappy. There is an ad in the newspaper today and perhaps we will learn something about her whereabouts if she is still among the living. She was 125 years old, reckoned in dog years and had a pretty good life.

There are things about working with the tactile qualities of the universe that can set a nervous soul at rest. Today I have been planing lumber and cutting it to size to make drawer fronts for a friend's hand-crafted home. I cut the parts to rough dimension, then pass one surface over the jointer to make certain it is flat before planing. It is a whole mind and body experience something akin to tai-chi. I stand with my body low in a crouch, my legs out slightly in a manner you would see used as tai chi practitioners gather in the park. My hands are carefully placed. The movement is fluid as I shift weight slightly from one foot to the other and twist slightly in my torso, allowing my arms and hands to bring the board through the cut.

You may not not have found soul's solace in the wood shop as have I. You may not find it in the garden or in the kitchen, or in the care of others. But I would challenge you to look. And look carefully. For me, at any time of stress, or sadness to engage hand, eye, and body in creation gives profound comfort.

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