“The more you are motivated by love the more fearless and free your action will be.”
For a while I tried to get this chair started, going for walks in the woods, saw in hand. As I walked and looked my gaze fell on many pieces that would have been just right for my purposes but, I could not bring myself to cut them – they seemed just perfect where they were. So I walked, then wandered home empty handed except for some windblown that would serve for the stove. Each day I returned to the wood intent on reeking destruction on a couple of branches at least. Each day I was stopped in my tracks by the beauty of what I saw and my reluctance to desecrate it, never wanting it to change.
Each day I stopped in a different spot and looked around me. I could see the boughs and branches in all their naked glory, the inner workings, the supports, upon which a glorious tapestry will hang and grow in months to come – I could see the forms, the colours that lie beneath, hidden, unassuming and unappreciated for most of the year.
I walked in a sea of leaves – treading carefully over hundreds, thousands of naked ash saplings no more than an inch or two tall. When I stood quietly for long enough, I could see the decay turn to glory as the bluebells awoke and herald a rebirth, and then the baby ash turn the sea of blue to a boisterous green, as they jostled with each other, like children in a playground, reaching out and up. All around mature oak, ash, hazel, thorn and beech continue on life’s journey, quietly watching while growing older. Then the leaves on young and old change to a golden glow, and falling gently to the ground, become another drop in the russet ocean that surrounds me. And the unending cycle of change would begin again.
I walked home empty handed, again.
In the evenings as I looked out over the fields to the woods, I could see the stillness descend; the riot of life subsided for another day and all was calm. Only the old badger that lives there would disturb the stillness as he moved gently through the trees, stopping now and then to sit quietly and look up at the moon. And, as he looked into that ethereal light, that gentle face, perhaps he saw the eyes, and smile, that are love and life. Love: unconditional, all-embracing, eternal. Life: exultant in an exuberance of ever changing glory.
The Moon looks on as the trees rise, fall and rise again; life after life, age after age. She watches as the badger and I move through our short earthly journey; but, looking up, now and then, all fear falls away like old leaves on ancient trees and we step gently forward into the unknown.
There is peace and security in knowing there is only change, that there is no fixed, solid security – only how we face and cope with change.
All that exists is fleeting, and is all the more beautiful because of it – it’s beauty is its impermanent nature, its brief and wonderful flowering, its exulting in life, its blinding flash and its extinction – its reabsorption into the whole, and its continued existence in another form; the beauty never dies, never disappears, never leaves us, it just changes.
So, thinking all this, I finally came home with treasure in my hands, as well as in my head, and made a chair.
I could say I deliberately made this chair with an exposed seat rail to reflect the underlying structures of nature, the fabric we don’t always see or notice, the support on which all else hangs, and which in and of itself is a thing of great beauty – but, I’d be a liar. I did it because, to my eyes, it looked wonderful – hat piece of Yew is a small part of nature’s incredible masterpiece and deserved its own stage. The fact, at least I think it’s a fact, that it worked so well is purely coincidental.
The little chair is the practice piece – exactly half the size in all dimensions.