The trees are, as always, silent and grand, but now they're stirring. Tightly packed leaf-fronds have, over the last two days, blossomed. Where, through the winter the ends of branches had been weird, arthritic witches' fingers pointing in every direction, now there are red buds, each day loosening, softening the stark crowns.

They slow down my impatience for the end of the chilled wind--what is Whitman's great line?--proposing to be the "flags of my disposition" to make it clear what's going on. A great wheel is turning the budding leaves say; watch us, we'll show you the way.

A good day of work yesterday: all ten fingers are still wagging. The molding, cut, fit, recut, refit, then recut and refit, is in, both the base and the quarter round to cover the ends of the oak floor. Since there are no straight lines in nature, why should there be in my old house? So the carpenter's friend, caulk, goes on today, to fill gaps I can do nothing about. I need to remember that what the carpenter sees most eyes don't--for most, the eye glances over the work, sees that things are in place, is not interested in looking that closely.

The ancient friend of the carpenter? The shim. Those angled slivers of thin wood that fill gaps, that make walls and corners square. Behind just about every wall there's a shim making it straight and true. The shims are the levers the wizard's busy pulling behind the curtain--the one that Dorothy, in her magic shoes, peers behind to find the truth.  The shims show us that it's not magic but work, the practical intelligence in collision with the vagaries of the real.

Allan DiBiase
4/4/2013 04:43:27 am

That's a very beautiful gate. Did you make it?


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