June 28, 2019 I was always all-in on tool acquisition, supported by a belief that good tools meant good work. The restoration and mastery of obscure hand tools reshaped my identity. Slicks, froes, and augers. Mallets made from tree trunks. Restoring a corner chisel with a blade as jagged as a cave man’s teeth. It was an endless cycle of search, acquire, and restore. Hours were spent crafting keen edges. More hours spent turning ash handles.
Fine tools fostered a deep, and at times, misplaced independence. They also provided a comfortable solitude. Alone time became an easy habit. Old steel was quietly guided by kinesthetic wisdom. Visions born in quiet obsession guided resolute hands.
Last year this collection ended up in a box, sold to an earnest young fellow for modest dollars. His battered truck and the assurances of a good home sealed a sweet deal. Now I hire people.
With loss of tactile fluency words become the new tool set. But the forms of expression don’t have the restorable character of steel or wood. Both writing and typing are soon slipping beyond the horizon. My voice is relatively clear but I notice slurring and I trip on certain letters. This feels like a precursor to loss of speech. Now there is an urgency to maximize words while I can. I journal and blog. Relationships have taken on new importance. There is a growing comfort in asking for things. (Allison has craftily noted that a sentence starting with “we” really means “you”. For example, “we need to take this garbage out.”)
I am aware that the river of words will turn rocky and then dessert dry. The tool cycle will come full circle. Once again I will be in solitude, lost in thoughts and quiet obsessions. There is one significant difference. During the steel era, I escaped to my tools. In this new era, I will turn to the secure comfort of those around me. They will become tools by proxy. No need for keen edges. Love and understanding will do just fine.
One thought on “Tool Time”
Take advantage of the love and understanding around you.
23 years ago we (you) designed a post and beam woodshed. I gathered the tools, carved pegs from a fallen red oak in the backyard, moved the partially carved posts and beams from New Ipswich to Peterborough, and completed the woodshed 5 years later that still stands strong on Cunningham Pond.
It’s payback time. We (you) did a lot for us. It’s right that we (I) will do a lot for you now!