Last week I talked about how I love living in the country. (As someone pointed out however, what I consider “the country” would be residential by some standards.) This week I continue the love fest on a grander scale. That being, I love living in a state where we have dramatic changes in seasons.
Sure, it’s easy to complain when it’s too hot or too cold or the conditions swing too radically for our tastes. Overall though, I think I prefer Michigan over a state with a more stable climate. (I say “I think” because I’ve always lived here and can only imagine the alternatives). When spring comes and the backyard turns lush with new growth I can feel my overall attitude becoming more optimistic. Likewise, the brisk air of fall and the dramatic colors of changing leaves accentuated by the skimming light of the sun lower in the sky never fails to rekindle an artistic/creative urge. And while winters can be long and conditions harsh, I honestly believe that by looking for the good in all of that, I am able to find a way to appreciate that season as well. Sledding, snow ball fights, skiing, ice climbing, cutting down a Christmas tree in the snow followed by hot chocolate, …these are all really hard to do in the dessert.
I realize some people don’t like change. At my corporate job we’ve had day long seminars for the purpose of helping those who don’t like it, to understand, accept and maybe even embrace change. I don’t really know why I’m OK with it. In fact, when I think back to the first major change in my life, moving from Southfield to Royal Oak in the 4thgrade, I remember this event being a major upheaval and quite upsetting. But somehow, over the years, I’ve adopted what can frankly be characterized as a blasé attitude toward change. On second thought, in some instances, I actually seek it out when the more comfortable and safe path would be to coast. So blasé isn’t the right word...maybe reckless?? In any case, like dealing with winter, for better or worse I’ve somehow developed the ability to find the good in change.
So how is any of this related to woodwork? Well, anyone who has known me for longer than a few years knows that this is a relatively new passion for me. I’ve worked with wood in the past, mostly on construction type projects. I’ve at least partially finished 4 basements, done remodeling of my own homes, built benches for a deck, etc. I can trace the start of this current journey back to a plant stand for our deck (pictured below). This was made from Home Depot oak lumber and is assembled mostly with nails. I actually didn’t have all the tools to create this myself and I vividly recall being impressed and inspired as I watched my brother in law cut the joints for the legs on his table saw. It has survived Michigan’s changing seasons and it planted the seed of an idea that doing more of this might be fun. And that seed has blossomed and while I recognize that cold winter days will come when I’m burned out on some aspect of this craft, I also know that there are so many techniques for working with wood that there will always be new challenges to stave of boredom. And thanks to the web, there are countless sources of inspiration for new and exciting projects. Hand cut veneer work with exotic woods, steam bending and bent lamination, marquetry, live edge tables, Maloof style chairs, Greene & Greene style arts and crafts furniture (the list goes on and on). There are many more projects I’m anxious to tackle but I’m limited by time and even space in which to keep them. Of course it’s funny though because every time I bring home a new piece of wood Hollee claims it for herself. If we keep everything that she’s claimed, we’re going to have to move to a larger house. But that would just be another change to embrace!