Thursday, January 13, 2011

A place to sit alongside the trail...

I cut down a cypress tree that died a few years ago. It stood at the western-most edge of land on this continent. I saved a three-foot long section and cut it length-wise in half, leaving two half-cylinders of cypress wood. The rest went to land-fill. With one half I made a bench that I placed horizontally on the stump of the tree itself, facing west. The other half sat fallow for several years, awaiting its fate, its time...
Now, in the fulness of time, it's place in the world has come into focus.

It seemed a non-descript spot alongside the trail:

But then

I turned about and looked around, and knew where to place the other half of the cypress seat.

But there was no stump to perch it on like I had the other, so I needed to come up with a way to support it. Something enduring and in keeping with the locale. This spot is near where we bring up stone from the ocean's edge for various landscaping uses. Stone can stand in earth and no rot nor worm nor termite will undermine its steady state. I selected 2 worthy stones and tentatively placed them and replaced them till they seemed about right:

Bringing wood and stone together, I decided to shape the stone to the natural curvature of the tree's shape. A series of trial fittings, grinding a 'cradle' for the tree shape to nest in, ensued:

Finally, they came together. In the heat of the process, I forgot to take photos. Steel dowels were epoxied into the stone and matched to holes bored in the log to increase stability and effect a secure connection.

Whether going up the trail, or down, this bench offers a time out...

Someone has written recently about the pace of earth time. This phrase struck something within me, and it coincided with the fruition of a vision that had been gestating with regard to this slab of wood.
A place to sit with no particular other object in mind beyond being where one is, just now, truly and fully and only being there, alongside a path that is usually only traversed getting from one place to another...now it has a place of stopping, of resting, an invitation to encounter earth-time. Listen to the waves, watch the leaves of trees still standing rustle in the breeze, put aside the schedule for a few moments, refrain from imposing our frame of reference on our brief opportunity to be.
This bench, if it could talk, might say, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

1 comment:

John said...

To shape a piece of nature, to give purpose when its original role was done continues the spirit of life. The beauty of all that surrounds us is found in the simple choices we make.

A very nice choice you've made.