Beyond pain

Rough hands in veined steel knots clasp the chisel’s smoothness yet once more to pare the frame and fresh-cut shavings falling to tumbled piles at my feet and ankles braced now upon the oak board floor.


I strain, press, twist and the steel has my will at the edge that separates wood from wood and then as night separates day from day and year from year a tenon fits inside the mortise firmly gripped and held in place forever.


The chips now fallen feed the fire in winter as I warm my hands to lift another board to lie in wait upon my bench. And so the plane, my old plane, refines with shavings swiped side by side and with each swipe reveals the wood that no man’s seen before.

Beyond the presence of pain, through pain, I gain mastery over the wood and the tool. My hands hurt as any craftsman’s do much of the time in the pressure of my work, but no longer do I concern my thoughts with the pain for beyond this lies the treasure now emerged from deepness in the wood and soon I rest contented as the wood lies now in new and wrested smoothness.