In my mind, the equation goes like this:
1 highly caffeinated woman + 1 very sharp knife = Not a good idea.
Yet life can be surprising.
Every Tuesday afternoon this summer, my boys are taking a wood carving class. I hesitated before signing them up; the class is almost an hour away—in the hinterlands as far as I’m concerned—and this weekly commitment will be a big one.
But you know what? They absolutely love it! Boys + tools + carving= pure delight. When they came out of the first class their eyes were shining with happy stimulation as they talked excitedly about the next session. They were learning to listen carefully, to work with dexterity and–best of all–to create.
The teacher in me was hooked. We took the plunge.
This past Tuesday I had a babysitter for the girls, which meant that I could take the boys to their class and then—I’m thinking—I would have a lovely two-hour block of time to catch up on paperwork while I waited.
I did not expect the instructor—a wonderful older man who teaches the class free of charge for the pure and simple joy of sharing his hobby—to include this 40-year-old mom in the lesson. I did not expect him to set a block of wood in front of me, along with a little knife and a template. I did not expect him to spend ten minutes teaching me the first few steps. I did not expect…and I did not want!
I felt like a little dog at the end of her leash, straining and pulling and scrabbling to get away. “Nooooo!” I’m thinking, “I don’t want to be here!! I’ve got WORK to do!!!”
But my mother did not raise an impolite daughter. ; ) I smiled and listened attentively. I picked up the blade and I began.
The next thing I knew, I was completely immersed in the world of woodcarving. An hour and a half flew by as I bent my head over my little block of balsam (or whatever type of wood it was–as I’ve said, I’m not a carver!) and carefully chipped away at my pattern.
When I left, I felt as proud and stimulated and excited as my boys. I’m sure all you knitters and quilters and seamstresses know firsthand this feeling: the sheer satisfaction of turning one’s hand to a craft and creating art from raw material. In my case, it is not that I don’t want to be doing these things; it is rather that I convince myself that I can’t or that I don’t have the time.
Well, I’ve been wrong in this opinion.
Clearly you can teach an old dog a new trick….
…not the least of which is sitting still.
*I’m pretty sure that I don’t need to clarify this, but the above image is not the fruit of my first efforts! This beautiful carving was done by a student at the City and Guilds of London Art School.