It wasn’t so much an escape from news of the latest tragedy…
But there was an insistent pulling from a quieter place-
So we went into the woods for a few days
And put our minds to wood grain and the angle of cutting green wood with our edge tools-
To create forms from nature in a world seemingly bent on destruction.
To think about what counts now, in our present.
To look again at the grain of a birch, listening to what it tells us, as Jögge would say.
No cellphones and no chargers,
But steel and iron-
And we used them to pare away supple shavings of cherry, oak, ash and birch-
making both new and traditional forms-
Expert hands (and feet) inspired us-
Plans were laid out on long grain-
and with rolled up sleeves-
we went to work.
Effort and practice
and patient guidance
kept us on the path.
The trees did indeed talk to us.
They gave us gifts
and watched us as we made friends
old and new-
All pushed themselves to discover what they could be-
-maybe to search for what they were meant to be.
And the stories–so many stories-
Of the past informing our present-
These stories were told with a generosity of spirit and a true love of craft.
They moved us in ways we did not wholly expect.
It was a purposeful revolution in the green wood-
-the rhythm of hatchets and adzes working away toward the heart.
Some of the tales poked us-
lest we take ourselves
One of us carried into the woods a beautiful idea in lieu of a Sloyd knife-
Her vision, coupled with the work of tireless and dedicated organizers, built a framework for us-
That we may gather to unplug and reconnect in the summer wood among friends from all over the world.
Not an escape.
But an insistent pull-
(or push, depending on grain direction)
To pare away the green wood
until that which matters remains.