Tuesday, April 05, 2016

by the crackling fire.

Is wood shop fun or what?
We are working on a strategy for the extermination of feral pigs from our garden, which includes a possible electric fence, a motion sensor alarm, and possible acquisition of a dog. In the meantime, every time the feral pigs attack (which they have done three times), they leave with the garden beds looking as if they were carelessly roto-tilled. They throw large stones effortlessly aside with their snouts so that the walls that we carefully built during our decades around our home no longer restrain the soil in our garden beds.

Norwegian television broadcast a full 12 hours of wood related programming, that included watching fires burn and folks splitting wood with an axe. The program was called Nasjonal Vedkveld,  and the title refers to the field of wood splitting which had once been a national (and necessary) past-time.  If you watch long enough, you can see an interview with the author of Norwegian Wood, and hear a saw being played... a tune "Goodnight" by Ragnhild Zeigler.  In any case, we take life for granted, and should celebrate the kinds of labor that hold human beings in closer relationship to the natural world.

A recent study of dreaming suggests that human spirituality is one of its effects. I believe the same thing can be said of staring into burning embers, most particularly when the fire is one that you've started and built from wood that you harvested yourself.

As you may have noticed in your own experience, to sit by a fire, or to whack wood with an axe and to hear it split along the grain, are wholesome activities, that exercise the body, the senses and the mind. Thoreau had talked about firewood having warmed twice... once when it was cut and stacked, and then again when it crackled in the fire. There is still something he failed to mention perhaps because folks imaginations were not  digitally dulled as they are today. We feel something in the spirit when we are engaged in body and mind. American television might take a lead from the Norwegians, and offer low-keyed programming that showed real people doing real things.

Concentration and intensity of will
Yesterday in the wood shop at CSS my students worked on their box guitars, with several of them coming close to completion. My upper elementary school kids are finishing their projects related to their travel next week.

In the meantime, my book of Tiny Boxes is in the last stages of editing with the chapter on Japanese puzzle boxes demanding close review.

Make, fix, create, and allow the natural world to entice you into learning likewise.

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