Two weeks ago one of my favorite woodworking writers offered up his Stanley number 4 type11 smoothing plane to the reader who submitted the best woodworking haiku. Longing for this well-tuned machine and feeling inspired one evening I came up with this:
Bring down the pillar The wedge bears the years to tell Giving shape to time
I was trying to capture the way woodworking deals with something that has lived through sometimes a century of seasons. We woodworkers go crazy over the tight grains in boards that show lots of slow growth. Some of the best wood comes from trees that have had to struggle for years under the canopy of other trees. Each growth ring comes nice and close to last year’s ring–making for strong and beautiful boards for things like boats and furniture.
Sadly, I didn’t win the no. 4. I was beat out by a guy who compared the handplane to a woman. Figures.
Yet, thinking about trees and time has given me some perspective on Advent. In 2 Peter 3 the Scripture reminds us about God’s patience in delaying his coming. His patience is meant to allow room for repentance. It’s meant to bring more people into his salvation through Christ Jesus.
It makes me think about growth rings and grain. God’s after that old-growth heartwood. It looks good now. It’s going to look stunning in the age to come.