Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Just An Old Piece of Wood
Sitting up on a shelf in front of my computer is an old piece of wood. It sits there for a reason. Whenever I’m in need of inspiration, that old piece of wood inspires me. That old piece of wood reminds me of a time long ago when I was a little girl reading my Louisa May Alcott books and Laura Ingalls Wilder books in an old chicken coop void of chickens, converted to a clubhouse where I’d play with my cousins. And next to the old chicken coop there sat a massive old barn. Like the chicken coop, it belonged to my grandparents. They were both a part of their family farm.
My cousins and I played in that barn. By then, the farm was no longer a working farm. Although the roosts were void of chickens and the stanchions void of cows and the pastures void of horses and the grain shed was almost void of grain, none of that mattered to us. The roosts and stanchions turned into props. We were there to play and pretend and go on great adventures.
There were two mighty hay lofts in the barn connected by an old plank bridge which we’d cross when storylines demanded we did. A few bales of hay still hanging around made great hiding places as swallows came swooping down from their muddy nests. We once hosted a circus in the barn. We invited all the adults to our greatest show on earth-or at least in a barn.
Due to my grandfather’s health, the farm was sold. It went through a few owners. One day a while back, the owner at that time burned the barn down in a controlled fire. Some of us in the family were so upset that we asked a family member to please go to the site to salvage anything left from the fire. That’s where my old piece of wood comes from—my grandfather’s barn, once host to little ones seeking great adventures. I can still go on those great adventures or make up new ones when I look up at that shelf above my computer and see that old piece of wood sitting there. To anyone else it’s just an old piece of wood. To me, it’s a part of my childhood. It’s my key to imagining.
I would think most of us have stuff of great meaning that only we understand. I’m not talking about anything expensive. I’m talking about stuff that is priceless only to us as individuals. It could be a button sitting back in a dresser drawer that once adorned a favorite coat. It could be a stone now kept in a jar that you picked up when out walking with someone special or when walking alone in deep thought. It could be a pine cone or a ribbon or a letter or a photo or a crayon scribble on a piece of paper or a little toy or baby rattle or an article clipped from a newspaper turning yellow with age. It is one of a kind. It reflects you at a point in time that has meaning to just you.
Whatever it is, it is priceless—so priceless, that not even a fire can destroy that meaning and the memories it holds.