The Smell of Sawdust

My Paw Paw Kelly (grandfather) liked to work with wood. He had a workshop in a shed beyond the swing set and the garden. He would make fanciful things mostly. My favorite was a little girl in a red dress sitting on a swing. He hung her in the front yard from a tree, and she always made me feel welcomed whenever we visited his bosky home.

Like Paw Paw (and my creative Maw Maw), I’ve always found working with my hands interesting. I like to learn new things and shape something into something else. Sewing, painting, photography, gardening, woodworking, writing, and so on: they all stem from a need to make.

Humans are awesome that way. But, sometimes we make without conscious planning. We gather our materials without wondering about where they came from or how they are created.

My friend Silas Kyler made it his mission to remind us. He took his passion for woodworking and turned it into a beautiful documentary called Felled and a how-to book called The Art and Craft of Wood: A Practical Guide to Harvesting, Choosing, Reclaiming, Preparing, Crafting, and Building with Raw Wood. Both offer a glimpse into craftsmanship from start to finish and a real plea to look at the possibilities in things we take for granted. Like the Lorax, Silas and his colleagues “speak for the trees” and speak through them.

Like my grandfather, they are carrying on a tradition as old as civilization.

I love that smell of sawdust, it evokes so many memories… and possibilities.

One Minute of Spring

Even the smallest of gardens holds a little magic.

A Dash of Salt

I took the youngest kiddo out to the Salt River today to see the result of the water releases from Granite Reef Dam. We saw hummingbirds, bees, cormorants, and burrowing owls. And water, lots of water.

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Just Keep Swimming?

 

Warning: This isn’t one of my typical feel-good posts. I debated not posting it at all, to be honest, because it seems so different from my usual message of “Be true to yourself and just keep moving forward.”

That’s not to say this post is irrelevant. It’s very relevant to me and others who share similar experiences. It’s a part of who I am as much as the happy-go-lucky stuff is.

I need to share this. Why? Well, because it’s something that… Well, let’s just say it’s eating at me.

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Life Support

Water Users Site, Salt River, AZ
Water Users Site, Salt River, AZ

You don’t have to taste the water to know why this river is called Salt. You can feel the soft film of it on your skin. You can smell it in the soil as it beats against the shore. I always leave this place dirty, but never dissatisfied.

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That Thing Called Bliss

A green heron and I just living in the moment

2014 was a heck of a year and it ended with a nice climax for me. I finished my Master of Liberal Studies program in December and published my first nonfiction book. I was ecstatic when I received the printed copies of my nearly 2-years-worth of effort. To hold something you created in your hands is joy; it reminds you that you are capable of so much. Now that the graduation smoke has cleared and the holiday chaos has passed, I’m left with a burning philosophical question: Now what? Now what do I do?

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Many Canyons

Dusk at the Grand Canyon

The greatest portion of my free time since August 2013 has been spent working on my Master’s program in Liberal Studies at Arizona State. The very nature of the program means I can focus on something that interests me and submit a final applied project on it. Of course, I chose the Salt River (see “Solstice Memories”), because, well… I’m fanatical! I will graduate in December, so the entire program has been one long crunch time! Challenges make us more rounded individuals, right? Right? I sure hope so, because I’m driving my poor husband nuts with me.

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