Cleaning up after a recent construction project, the odor of saw-dust and wood shavings brought back childhood memories of my Grandfather.
A quiet man, he allowed me to hang out as a child while he built our frame home after the war. From an early age I was fascinated to see how a plan and numbers sketched upon a wood plank resulted in the precise removal of wood by a hand saw or plane, then two pieces of wood were purposefully joined. Grandpa must have seen my fascination. He gave me my first handsaw when I was 8 years old without any explanation or expectation. He was a quiet man.
I built my first boat when I was 12. It floated, but required as much time bailing water as time paddling. (That ratio changed with gobs of roof cement applied to the hull.) There comes a quiet satisfaction for a kid to sit in a boat of his own creation, moved by a meandering stream under a midwestern sky. Many wood-working projects followed in years to come.
50 years later I visited an art museum. Not really my first visit, but for some reason this was the first time I really admired art. I saw and studied and found myself intrigued by the planning and careful crafting required by a solitary artist to build an appealing picture or a sculpture. Was that an echo I heard?