"Teller of Life’ as I Now Live Wood" --by RusticWoodArt #9: "The Passion of Wood"

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Blog entry by frank posted 01-08-2008 02:42 PM 1367 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: "Stories of Wood That Yearn" Part 9 of "Teller of Life’ as I Now Live Wood" --by RusticWoodArt series no next part

The Passion of Wood

How splendiferous is my joy at writing, as I sit here in the mornings, be-fore the sun has had a chance to display a magnificence of splaying rays. This is when by writing with pen and paper, ‘the why’, concerning my medicine of ink is flowing best and the images of imagination take on their body of words. This is when I rise above the cathedrals and temples built by hands of men//women and soar into the rapturous volumes of an opened heavens delight. Stories are told that give in-sight into the goodness of living life on the ‘live edge’, that dwells in the dawning twilight separation of dark and light and it is here that my self interacts with wood. often i have sat before this place of wood, a wall of such written within the room of my house, and wondered why i never before had taken the time to listen good, to the story told by one old well weathered timber wood grouse….

“When time was young and eternity had not yet been shaped, back before the seasons of ill tuned land grabbing forest baron’s, there was a grainy roamin’ collection of woodworkin’ doppelganger’s, who worked the forest at a pace un-equaled to what had ere been seen up to then”, continued the ‘old timer’ as he rolled his gouge along the patterned grains of wood.

We were sitting in one of the lean back camps, that were kept for times when after working deep within the forest….twas better to spend the night and start again fresh the next day. Besides, this was a way of living and working that allowed one to grow in their spirit learning of trees, the art-full place that city dwellers would never be able to embrace. “Out here the bear is my brother and the coyote walks beside me to guide me on my journey of life, till it be-comes time to pass over as spirit. Much are the ways of learning and reading into the heart of man, that likens him//her after those earlier woodworkin’ doppelganger’s, but is up to each of us individually to decide what we will do, when exposed to this line of thought.” After saying this the old timer paused for a moment, before continuing on with this reflection of the wood piece he was working on….”many are those who will seek you out after I am gone, to ask of where you learned your right, to talk the wisdom of wood. These will be those who seek an easy way of knowing wood for profiting their ego’s and making merchandise of wood. Having no-time to sit and learn of the silence of wood, they clamor for more of books and loud popular teachers who arrive on the scene today and are gone tomorrow. Popularity is a wood worker’s worst enemy and if you want to know the ‘passion of wood’, then reject all avenues that would lead you out into the mainstream of what is often referred to as tradition.”

I remember now those words and that phrase he had used of ‘the passion of wood’, since over the years I have come to understand that not many have a time for wood….

“We live in a fast paced consumer oriented society that wants for today….fast food stores, fast gas pumps, faster shopping malls, fastest holiday travel. We as wood worker’s have our fast box stores, where the many go and buy their all-ready cut, ....stacked, and …..milled wood. To save time one can even buy their favorite flavor of grained cellular all-ready primed out and just waiting to be hammered into place. And what about those fast tools for working the wood along with those streamlined jigs to make it all easier, along with the knowledge that comes to me that just as soon as I buy one….I have all-ready lost! Lost in the sense that next week there is going to be released a faster tool, that had I waited….I could have gotten the newer version of a faster tool. That is until next week, next month, or when-ever next….comes along and once again I am outdated.”

“This is my passion, my trees, my wood, my hands that work the wood and the power of that passion is ( i ) or if I may say it again….the power of that passion is (I). Dreams are made of passion, understand your passion and your dreams will manifest un-limited imagination. All can have this….but few will live in the reality of such, though some will lurk in the shadows wanting, but being un-able to cast off from the multitudes, these too will soon give up and turn for assistance from those other’s, who being caught up in their own dream….will only be too willing to pass their version on to you.”.

“This thing I call passion, my passion for wood is mine and mine alone….it can-not be taught, it can-not be bought, it can-not be learned, it can-not be gained, it can-not be collected, it can-not be sold….but yes, it can be lived. Many shall seek the way of wood, but fewer there be that find the passion of wood. Some have asked me why this is so and often if I sense they are willing to know, I will pass on a small help to hinder and confuse all the more. You can-not find the passion of wood, as it will first find you, if you are willing to walk alone….”

“There are no-shortcuts in this wood experience to substitute passion for what is offered in the marketplaces today, where the money-changers are out to make merchandise of you for their own gain. Profits are tallied in the eyes of the be-holders and if you think this is not so, then the next time you go to a wood show, turn your pockets empty side out and see how much attention you get, if you even get in the door. What the many call a passion of//for wood is no-more than the emotions-of-geebies that comes from buying into the lie that ‘what we’re selling you will turn you into an overnight-overweek-overmonth-overyear woodworker. And so you buy into their dream, but the dream was not your dream and soon the emotions-of-geebies wears off, (and yes, many will think this is not true) so I will ask you this. In all the boxes of stuff you bought, all those books sitting on the shelf, all the courses you have paid for and taken, all those teachers you paid to hear… many boxes remain un-used, how many books remain un-read, how many courses remain un-dis-coursed, how many teachers words remain un-heard, and what did it all profit you?”

How long do you think it will take you to forget all you have learned up to this point and start learning from the wood?” And with that the old timer put his gouge down, and looked me in the face with a knowing that seemed to invade the ‘my space’ of who I had thought myself to be. At first there was confusion in my soul, but then I saw the laughter in the old man’s eyes….eyes of fire, that rolled as the up-churning whitecaps of white water rapids, that tumbled down smashing un-lucky kayaks and their passengers in the frothy wetness of a self proclaiming behemoth Rapid River, as this one drains down from western Maine into the silent fogginess of Lake Umbagog in northeastern NH. be continued in a place of time….by flp

And so once again I set before us a way of choosing, enter if you dare and be sure to leave off all the encumbrances that are given to weigh one down. Beauty is a Lady that shares her perfume with no-other….and yet out here, in the dwelling within….there is a taste of that spicy aroma that one can gather and collect within their imagination. All that is asked, is that when you travel out here….leave no trail and all that you gather, be sure and use before time runs out….

....stories are told on the sides of a wooden barn door….when in the moment, I stopped to see just what the shadows were writing about living wood….

....dancing wood shapes of board and batten tell a story of not yet finished battons up on the third floor….and there stand I, thinking that maybe this will be one part of my story that I will save and pass on to an-other to complete….

Thank you.

” smart, work safe, and live, to work the wood….”

-- --frank, NH,

5 comments so far

View Mark's profile


316 posts in 4099 days

#1 posted 01-08-2008 03:59 PM

Well spoken as a creative soul. Knowledge and passion are separate yet inseparable and should be understood as such. But when does that thirst for knowledge become a passion or will it. At what point does the search for knowledge flower into a passion.

I believe you were born late but it is very good to have you around.


-- Mark

View schwingding's profile


133 posts in 3791 days

#2 posted 01-08-2008 04:07 PM

Lovely read. Thank you.

-- Just another woodworker

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3788 days

#3 posted 01-08-2008 04:08 PM


As I have said before I admire and respect your philosophy, not only with regards to woodworking, but with respect to life as well. You present a unique perspective that is refreshing to experience. I don’t necessarily agree with all of it but I can respect and admire it. Given the choice between the finest set of Japanese handsaws or other hand saw or a new Sawstop I would invariably choose the Sawstop without hesitation. Obviously I have bought into, and been completely corrupted by corporate America, but such is life.

Keep the posts coming. By the way your pictures are beautiful but, again, keep the snow up there. Yesterday it was 70 degrees here and I was able to go fishing with a four year old who is one of my favorite people.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4272 days

#4 posted 01-08-2008 07:32 PM

Ah, but my sources indicate temperatures are on the rise in NH as well, a picture of that same tree tomorrow may show it released of its powdery burden…

Thanks Frank, I dare say you may certainly be outdated, but I am here to tell you that term should not be treated as negative. No, you are probably living out-of-date, much along the lines of living out-side of the box.

More power to you, but not more power-tools to you.

Have a terrific day.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4172 days

#5 posted 01-09-2008 03:23 PM

Hello to all;
—-hi Mark; ....the thirst for knowledge is the supplanter of passion in the eyes of the artist.

”....flowering knowledge be-comes a fruit of passion, wherein is found the seeds of understanding….”

Many may thirst and seek to have their diet supplemented with understanding, but that is not enough and only leads to more learning disabilities. To the one who follows this path, there is a continual running around the mountain and so it is this ever changing vector of scenery that contributes to one’s illusion of visions.

Some have said that knowledge breeds a passion, but in that statement is found the beginning of the lie about one’s-self and if this mis-understanding is allowed to carry on long enough, so also will the image of the seeker take on the likeness of the teacher. The flower that blooms in the winds of spring knows nothing of the seed that will yet come forth in the suns of summer. I was planted in the fertil soil of darkness and knowing no-better, I soon thought my-self to be like the soil of that terra that so encrusted my being. Can one imagine my surprise when one day I was expelled to the up-side of a brand new world where darkness be-came a thing of the past and my living now took on the light of the living. This is where passion found me….as one who has come up for a breath of fresh air….only to experience the seed of understanding that passion ‘just is’.

I understand that we are talking about the ‘passion of wood’ on a woodworking website….but even then, who can or why would one want to separate this talk about ‘passion’ just because of wood. Passion is the make-up of what I am and because I was birthed in this understanding by the knowledge of wood….so I have taken on the nature and character of that seed. My diet is not wood, just as my diet is not for wood emotions of the geebies kind….and to the one who so diets this way, there will be the ever continual struggle to support the habit of gross diet and net weight.

”....the fruit of passion is not likened to the diet of knowledge, and so will suffer the loss of this dead weight, with much joy as the seed of understanding comes forth within the creature, with a change of eyesight….”

And yes, I was born late, but even then since all ‘just is’ i am right on time.

....and yes, I enjoyed your comments and look forward to more….

—-hello schwingding; ....thank you for your kind words….

—- hi sbryan; ....keep on enjoying that fishing, which makes me dream ahead….to white water and kayaking plus fishing also….

—-hello Rob; are right on that score. Yesterday we hit into the 60’s and so there is a snow melt going on up here….as to being found living out-of-date….well there has to be some-one around to keep folks re-minded of how it used to be….LOL! I would be the first to admit that I can be dated to a ‘before in time’, but then that’s just the way it is….living out-side the box….

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

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