My Writing

The Woodworker

   I still remember everything about that day. I was about five years of age. I was clad in blue shorts and a button up short sleeve shirt with a black and white pattern of horizontal and vertical bars. Covering my head was my favourite cap, the red one with a baseball under crossed bats printed on it's front just above the curved blue peak. On my feet were beige coloured desert boots the type with crepe soles that could see you through any adventure a young boy could find. This particular day was warm and sunny with a gentle breeze blowing making the air fresh. Fresh like clean sheets on your bed when you first climb in at night.

   On the wall of my father's garage hung many tools. I was most fascinated with a hand saw that was almost as long as I was tall back then. "Today's the day I will use that saw", I promised myself. My eyes moved over the saw examining every detail as I had many times before. The word Disston was marked on the saw, a mark of quality I was told. I ran my finger along it's back which was strong and true, the teeth were sharp and well set. The full carved rosewood handle was smooth and inviting to the touch. The handle was secured to the blade with five chromium-plated screws, one a medallion.

   On a low set of sawhorses had been set a sacrificial wooden plank. As it lay there I gazed at its rough yellow complexion of fuzzy wood fibres and rippling swirl marks left behind by the sawmill blade. My nostrils were filled with the scent of fresh timber. My heartbeat quickened, it was time. I took the saw in hand. The opening in the handle was much to large for a young person's hand so I used them both. I steadied myself and like a knight of old I swung the lengthy blade up and over laying the business edge onto the plank. I drew the saw backward and began to cut.

  The mighty Disston sang as I ran it back and forth through the pine plank. The soft vibrations travelling through my arms to my chest as the teeth cut their kerf. The sounds of the saw riving the lumber filled my ears. A wonderful scent permeated the air while sawdust floated slowly down landing in a warm pool of sunlight on the rough garage floor. I wanted to do nothing else. I hoped this day would last forever. Yes, life unfolding as it should. This is the moment I became a woodworker.

   Wood beckons to us all. Wood is resilient, flexible and forgiving. It is inviting and warm and some times bears magnificent beauty. Wood embodys many traits that we appreciate. To be a woodworker one must realize that wood is alive and will give us its best if we follow it's lead.

   The garage is gone now, so too is the wonderful sunny day, just a distant memory. I practice the craft alone in my own workshop now, my hands coaxing out wood's beauty, ushering from lumber to life. Working wood takes me back. Back to be the boy, contentedly sawing.., life unfolding as it should.

©Ken Taylor 2012


The Man and His Prize

  He lays there in bed, no longer able to sleep. She is on his mind. Is she still there? Has anyone found out? He must go to the place he left her. He climbs out of bed carefully so as not to wake his wife. Gathering his clothes he makes his way out to the kitchen closing the bedroom door softly behind him. Despite his excitement he dresses in a manner as any other ordinary day. But this is no ordinary day. At the back door he pulls on a light plaid jacket and steps out into the fresh cool air.

  Pausing for a moment on the back steps he looks out into the early morning sky. He watches as low flying songbirds glide over the old apple orchard. The air warms as Morning stretches out it's orange fingers to push aside the curtain of night. The moon slowly vanishes as it succumbs to the new day.

   He starts down the path which leads to a building that has stood for many a year. His heavy boots grind the gravel on the path as it shifts under his weight. Looking to the end of the path he sees the old maple trees that shelter the building's rusting tin roof. Even with the help of the maples the building walls cannot keep paint from flaking off in patches here and there. A pair of large wooden doors with two small window panes covers the entrance.

   Arriving at the building he steps up to the doors. With hands cupped to each side of his face, nose to the cold glass he comes face to face with the buildings current inhabitant, Darkness. He knows his prize is in there but Darkness smothers her with it's inky black cloak. He is not worried, he knows that Morning is with him. His hands touch the door handles, they are cold, like the Darkness on the other side. Gripping the handles he swings the doors open wide, Morning rushes past him assaulting Darkness with a wash of golden light. Darkness silently slinks back to the corners of the room like pooling mercury revealing the prize. She is still where the man left her.

  In the daylight he can see her glowing skin. Smooth curves blending into magnificent lines. Pleasing to look at and a pleasure to own. She will not move until he commands her to. He straddles her and settles slowly down on her. He reaches out with his right hand and gives it a twist for a start. She shakes below him as she comes to life. Slowly they move together. Rolling toward the doorway.

   He looks over his shoulder and is startled to see his neighbour ,George, standing at the top of the path. Standing with his arms folded across his chest George yells out, “Hey ... how big is that mower your riding?”

“Twenty eight horses,” the smiling man replies. “I just brought it home from the John Deere dealer yesterday.”
©Ken Taylor 2011


The Burden Of Choice 

  My heart sinks as I peer through the entrance. Any hope of a quick passage is crushed. I reluctantly enter and melt into the rear of the crowd to silently claim my space. This space need not be identified as everyone understands that there are boundaries. Everyone except the one behind me that feels compelled to fuse himself into my back. I look over my shoulder and I let my gaze speak for me. Why is he in such a hurry to reach the end? It will come for him as it will for all of those here.

  It's so crowded. Like cattle heading into the the abattoir we move forward. It is difficult for us to see the point at which we joined the moving mass and also to clearly see our destination. Scanning around I notice that others appear anxious as well. Some of the group look down, clenching and unclenching there hands. Others gaze into space without expression while most, like myself, study faces wondering if they are experiencing the same apprehension. At this point I consider leaving but there is no turning back.

  Divided into long lines we shuffle our feet and move ahead, pause, shuffle ahead, pause and so our procession goes. Once again I must remind the one behind me of the issue of space. I believe this time he finally grasps the concept. I feel like I am in limbo. So many of us souls making our way together to the end.

  Soon the uniformed people in control will force me to decide. Their establishment provides us with many selections but all these serve a singular purpose. My fellows do not care which I elect, only that it is decided quickly so that they may have their turn. Any choice I make will be acceptable to all.

There are certainly more of us than them. I ponder if our shuffling masses could band together to take the upper hand in this situation. Maybe they would have to answer to us. Our group seems to be resigned to accept whatever will come. Could it be that is why they wear the uniforms, to show a united front, or is it just to make them more recognizable putting us in a false sense of security? My musings are interrupted by the one behind me as his shoe bumps my heel. It's like he is a moth and I am a flame. I don't care anymore, soon it will be over and he will be gone.

  I go over my options while we advance. This should be a cinch but for some reason I always subject myself to this mental jungle gym. My palms feel clammy, mouth drying, I must get a hold of myself. Those who control us are clearly in my sight. It will soon be my turn. My mind races as I prepare to meet my attendant. I approach the metallic, sterile barrier between myself and the uniformed staffer. I use this cold, uninviting surface to brace myself.

  As is the protocol at this point she greets me but it is not heart felt. The repetition of her station has taken any enthusiasm she may once have had. I nod my head in recognition, smile and return greetings in hopes that it will make our proceedings a little more humane. She focuses on me knowing I will give her my choice. I must, there is no other way to end this agony. Those beside me have decided and are ready to accept what comes. The ones behind me are waiting. I've endured this many times. Why is it always like this? My mind is screaming at me to chose differently this time. I can't change. Again I arrive at my usual choice. I look her in the face and say:

“I'll have a number one with a coke, Thanks”
 ©Ken Taylor 2011

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