The city lights are fading in the distance as I cross the big river, heading back to home port. Its a beautiful evening but I know the rain will come. I think about my workshop and what material I should use to cover the damaged roof with. Shingles or tin. The temporary fix with tarpaper will only hold the rain off for a while. I think about the table refinish job waiting for me tomorrow morning.
I glide along the asphalt ribbon to the foot of the mountain I must climb over to get to the flatland, 100 miles of it, then home. I chuckle as a slower vehicle forces me to pass on the grade. In the old days I would have been furious, downshifting forever, labouring up the incline, stacks belching smoke.
Under this hood lies a fire breathing monster. I caress the go-pedal slightly and bring the turbocharger to a high whine then slip the monster a few spoonfulls of rocket fuel. The beast growls quietly up the mountain, oblivious to the incline. The speedometer needle tickles the posted limit. No downshifting. Glorious.
I breast the summit and look north. My friend the mountain sits there in the waning light, pensive, quiet. I study the outline, a giant gorilla sitting down, with head on chest, thinking, waiting, somber. My friend would dwarf King Kong like the hairy movie star towered over Fay Wray, and Jessica Lange. I leave him sitting there looking down over his subjects, waiting for the rain. And I think, and think and think…
I think the radio has been off for a while. I reach over and twist the volume. It disturbs my peace. I go back to thinking, settling back in the air-ride seat, pointing my road machine into the blackness. And I think.
Then the little voice starts. And the dialogue…
Little voice – you want to talk about your woodworking magazines
Me – ya sure, always gives me pleasure
Little voice – you dont trust me
Me – I think you’re up to something
Little voice – well, do those magazines really give you pleasure. You’re hanging on to them awfully tight
Me – I’ve let other magazines go, lots of ‘em
Little voice – you weren’t hanging on to them as tight as you are to this stack of paper and ink
Me – hey, they’re more than that. Man, they’re full of ideas, and knowledge, tools and jigs, finishes, anecdotes, and so, so much more…paper and ink, ya right
Little voice – your mitts are wrapped so tight around those woodworking magazines they’ll get mouldy from the darkness and lack of air
Me – Ha Ha, look at all the other magazines I let go of, reams of them. Could’ve filled a tractor trailer. Trucking mags, hot rodding, 4×4, hunting, fishing. Remember the bodybuilding magazines, like one hundred, no two hundred and forty magazines and I let them go. Some kid will be Mr America now with all that info
Little voice – precisely
Me – precisely what
Little voice – all that info you could pass on to someone with your wood magazines
Me – whoa
Little voice – just lift one of those fingers up and see how it feels
Me – can’t, they’re too, too precious, too valuable
Little voice – just one, try it, you’ll feel better
Me – okay, but just one
Little voice – see, that didn’t hurt, try another finger
Me – it hurts
Little voice – big chicken
Me – big chicken, I think not. Look at the stack of writing books I have advertised to give away to an aspiring writer. I thought writing was my deepest passion and I’m giving them up
Little voice – I’m going to call you on your deepest passion and it wont be nice
Me – whadya mean
Little voice - you’re hanging on to those woodworking magazines with something that has surpassed passion, and I have to call it by a different name
Me – well, whadya call posting all my motorbikes to give away to some kid to enjoy
Little voice – does the word begrudging mean anything
Me – so, I still want to ride them
Little voice - but you want to ride them more than you want to give them
Me – true, but I’ll let them go regardless, what’s your point
Little voice – you can’t enjoy giving unless you really let go and enjoy the receivers joy
Me – that’s their business
Little voice – really? But wouldn’t you want your joy to be full, something you can’t have when you begrudge a gift. Now back to those woodworking magazines of yours
Me – how about two fingers, will that make you happy
Little voice – its about making someone else happy. Remember the joy you felt perusing those magazines, how the articles leaped off the pages. Don’t you want someone else to feel that, who can’t afford those magazines but woodworking is their passion
Me – ya, ya, alright
Little voice – doesn’t sound alright to me. Hang on to them then, till they get mouldy and useless to read
Me – I don’t feel very good
Little voice - let them go and you will feel good
Me – hard to believe
Little voice - you have choice. They’re yours to do with as you please, but it is better to give than to receive
Me - okay, one more finger. You gonna keep this up till you win
Little voice – I’m not trying to beat you. I’m trying to teach you
Me – teach me what
Little voice – a good master always gives the best to his students. Give the best that you are and the best that you have. Don’t hoard. Give. Share. And it will come back to you tenfold.
Me – this is hard
Little voice - if it was easy you wouldn’t need me
Me - and you are
Little voice – I’m your conscience, turkey
Me – turkey all right. Look what you made me do. That was the last exit for a nature break.
Little voice – Guess you better pull over then, and get out
Me – you ain’t gettin’ out with me
Little voice – you’re stuck with me
Me – if I give those woodworking magazines to someone who needs them will you shut up?
Little voice – for awhile, till you learn all that I can teach you
_Me _- I’m stepping out now. You watch the truck. And don’t touch anything, ya hear.
-- Phil Brown, Ontario