Neighborhood Art

Early each year in the gardening season, I’m called upon to make wooden stakes. These mark the ends of the rows, and have space for Sharpie ™ writing on them. I make them by taking a scrap of wood, cutting 45s in one end of the scrap to make the point. Then I slice the wood about 3/8″ thick on the table saw to make the stakes. It takes me a few minutes to get this done, and at the end, I have serviceable stakes. They are not art.

stakesWhen my neighbor works with wood, it seems to always come out art. When Alice and I returned from a walk a few days ago, these two lovely bundles of stakes were sitting on the table in our entryway. I had no idea they were coming, and I was struck with not only the beauty of these stakes, but with the way they were tied together, and even how they were laid out on the table. My neighbor just instinctively arranges things so they are pleasing. I don’t think he knows any other way to do it.

I spoke with him this afternoon, and he explained that these stakes came from leftover wood from a project he and I did together a couple of summers ago, when we built a chair.

I am intrigued by the different way we humans think. Some of us lean toward the practical, get-‘er-done, while others of us can’t conceive of doing a project unless it is beautiful. Both types are needed, and I suspect each type is puzzled by the behavior of the other. It’s kind of like the experience you get in a museum. Some practical type needs to design and build the walls to hold up the roof to keep the rain out, while others conceive the art that is collected and displayed inside.

Humans are a tapestry of capabilities, and we are at our best when each of us finds the fire that burns in our soul, and feeds that fire to contribute a necessary piece of the puzzle of life.

3 Responses to “Neighborhood Art”

  1. Gloria Melton says:

    Thankfully, a friend forwarded your post. Your ideas are beautifully expressed, Ted. Your words evoke similar imagery in reading poetry by Robert Frost–warm and familiar.

  2. […] left the lovely garden stakes my artistic neighbor left for me on the table in this entryway, partly because I like looking at […]

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