Thursday, June 19, 2014

Seduced by Work

     I wasn't expecting to be seduced cleaning the old metal table out by the stream, but then I hadn't bargained for the interplay of water, light and the pigment left by the over-wintering black walnut leaves.  I wasn't well-prepared for the work.  I was lacking gloves, a sponge or any sort of cleaning solution.  The red table caught my eye, half covered by a tarp blown back some while ago.  I was out watering the ferns and hostas.  Impatient to have company come join me for lunch or tea, I thought that a quick swish of water from the hose would wash away the black imprints.  Barely a moment into the job, the surface transformed itself into a finger painting surface.  Work?  This wasn't work.  Sheer play.  Seduced.

     Much of my work here at home has a seductive quality.  It is not random.  I have always been very conscious of the light, the placement of windows, and the direction of the wind.  Take the shop for instance.  Once there was a large window overlooking the gardens and willows to the east.  The garage and shop are adjacent and open to each other.  The light of that window insured that one could drive the car into a well lit garage usually without the aid of a light bulb.  I don't know what style the windows were originally, because by the time I arrived the big window had been broken.  A small aluminum sliding window mounted in the center of an ugly sheet of fibre board had replaced it. The sliding window option nailed shut.  Besides looking junky, the window squeezed out the light.

      I think it took a couple of summers of looking to find just the right window.  An old farm advertised windows in among a list of the usual debris of a farm sale.  I bought two and brought them home.  They needed only a slight trimming to make them fit.  Some of the panes were broken and had to be refitted with new glass.  This was my first lesson in tuck pointing a window.  The view now seduces the eye.  Throwing open the big garage doors and the big back door lets in more light and the sound of the stream.  Working in the garage feels good.  I've spent many days out there glancing sideways out to the motion of the trees through the windows.

     Five years or so have passed with a shop radio working in an ever increasingly erratic fashion.  The volume button had slowly worn out it's contact points.  By this past year the radio would only play on either a whisper or a shout.  When I spotted this professional contractor's radio at Rae's yard sale at the beach I couldn't resist for $20.  I have always been envious of these radios.  Maybe it was just the color, or the image.  Anyway, turning it on the sound was smoother and deeper than I had expected.  Now the shop seduces me with music and NPR news once again.

     Our wind comes from the southwest.  Hot summers in the shop can be unpleasant.  The only south window swings open inwardly and welcomes any breeze.  We had planted an ash tree outside the window to provide dappled shade and cool the entering air.  Yet, I needed another window to cast light onto one of the two work benches.  Today as I carried the broken cabinet window into the shop, I was again pleased by the side window added just three years ago.  The light, the breezes and the views make shop work seductive.

     Upstairs there is another work space.  I am not a seamstress, but appreciate a good looking machine.  This little gem is a quilting machine.  Singer made these tiny, but efficient portable sewing machines for quilters.  I have a table machine, but this one is the one I use the most.  The soft little hum, ticking of the needle and the gleam of the black shiny paint are all pleasing.  I was repairing a duvet cover whose seam was coming undone.  The large windows letting in a cool rain-scented smell and pup keeping me company as she looked for cats out the window made work again a seductive activity.

     It is early morning; I'm off to be seduced by work once again.


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