In as many places as possible, I will get my feet down to the earth

carved panel overall

Having my stuff stashed away in a few storage sites is a bit rattling. I have some tools here at the house, and one workbench. It’s tucked tight into a mixture of kids/grownups/and general clutter; snow-boots, the “shipping” department -(a mass of re-used cardboard boxes and misc materials) the path to the bathroom, and this desk where I write, pay bills, and read about woodworking, birds and a tiny bit of news. I finally decided the other day to quit waiting until I get things “set up” and instead just shoved junk aside & carved an oak panel. It was like riding a bike.

carved panel detail

It being winter, I have dipped back into some of Henry David Thoreau’s journal. Somehow winter is when I read this book; “I to Myself” is the edition I’m using. Got to the part about firewood heating you twice, an oft-quoted section. But reading before and after that part was a treat:


“One-eyed John Goodwin, the fisherman, was loading into a hand-cart and conveying home the piles of driftwood which of late he had collected with his boat. It was a beautiful evening, and a clear amber sunset lit up all the eastern shores; and that man’s employment, so simple and direct, – though he is regarded by most as a vicious character, – whose whole motive was so easy to fathom, – thus to obtain his winter’s wood, – charmed me unspeakably. So much do we love actions that are simple. They are all so poetic. We, too, would fain be so employed. So unlike the pursuits of most men, so artificial or complicated. Consider how the broker collects his winter’s wood, what sport he make of it, what is his boat and hand-cart! Postponing instant life, he makes haste to Boston in the cars, and there deals in stocks, not quite relishing his employment, – and so earns the money with which he buys his fuel. And when by chance, I meet him about this indirect and complicated business, I am not struck with the beauty of his employment. It does not harmonize with the amber sunset.”

He goes on, then comes to this one:

“As for the complex ways of living, I love them not, however much I practice them. In as many places as possible, I will get my feet down to the earth.”

words to live by.


Meanwhile, the other day I ordered a new bowl/drinking cup from Jarrod Stone Dahl.

JSD bowl

Did you see his feature at Popular Woodworking?

His work would harmonize with an amber sunset for certain.


12 thoughts on “In as many places as possible, I will get my feet down to the earth

  1. Peter,
    Very nice read tonight. I must say your description of the state of your home matches mine. That’s shouldn’t be surprising, but somehow is because all the woordworkers shown in the magazines live in it seems designer’s houses rather spartan Shaker or Frank Lloyd Wright style homes and workshops. You’re a welcome relief.
    As for Thoreau’s Journal’s I cut my literary and naturalistic teeth on the Journals while dropping out of college in 1969. The Journals continue to be inspirational some 44+ years later.

  2. Very nice read. I must say, living with cardboard boxes is a constraint, but part of the territory for those of us who have to buy our fuel, groceries, printer cartridges…

    • Right you are Tico – & that’s why I liked the closing quote, essentially a caveat. we’re all hopefully doing the best we can to live “right” however you define that. I’m sure you were harmonizing w an amber sunset when you were out working your trees recently! Nice to hear from you,

  3. Measure your health by your sympathy with morning and spring. If there is no response in you to the awakening of nature,—if the prospect of an early morning walk does not banish sleep, if the warble of the first bluebird does not thrill you,—know that the morning and the spring of your life are past. Thus may you feel your pulse. HDT Journal 25 Feb 1859

    I agree a must read everyday. We are most essentially nothing other than wilderness in the most profound ontological sense.

  4. Getting your feet down to earth and harmonizing with an amber sunset. Not much better than that. I can’t believe you see snowies in the winter. That’s really cool. Thank you sir.

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