Oh, books. There are books that I've had for years, have read probably have a dozen times or more, and in which I still find something new when I read them for the umpteenth time. You know that saying that you can't step into the same river twice? You can't read the same book twice, because if you're doing things right, you're a different person every time you open the covers and dive into the worlds they contain.
I've been rediscovering some of my roots a bit, lately. Revisiting books and words that contributed to the person I am as an adult. Ursula K. LeGuin's Always Coming Home. Alicia Bay Laurel's Living On The Earth. The Goodfellow Catalog of Wonderful Things. (Yeah, I really should have been born a decade earlier. Oh well. Imagine how weird I was in middle school in 1984.) These are book that helped me realize, helped me understand, at a relatively early age that the world didn't always have to be the one in which I found myself. That there could be a world made by hand. That you could surround yourself with things made by yourself and by other human beings close to you, and not always in a factory somewhere. These are ideas I explore again and again, because to me, they are so fundamental to being a human person.
From where I sit, in my little nest on the living room floor, I can put my hands on two or three projects in process, and the tools for several more. There are raw materials for yet more. I can reach my hand out and stretching just a bit, I can touch 20 things that were made either by myself, or people living within a couple of hundred miles of where my bottom touches the floor. A cup that holds pens. A couple of bowls that organize some things. The raven cup I got at the Saturday Market yesterday. My hand-sewn hood and bag. My nalbound socks in progress. A glass that Vandy made. The bowl holding my apple wedges (nom nom). The tool roll and coin pouch that Barret made for me. Barret's new gorget. A tiny cup that Gwen made. Human scale things. Hands that make with love and joy. Things rooted in the natural world.
Whenever I've read Always Coming Home, I've thought "this is how to be an adult." And now that I am caught up in the gyre of the middle of my life, the hinge, I think "this is how to be a wise and purposeful adult." To embrace the natural world. To make and grow things with my hands. To share what I know and what I make. To embrace and contribute to a community (That part scares me. People scare me...but, to overcome fears...). To walk lightly everywhere. To take responsibility. To be gentle with myself and others. To give to light.
There will be a lot of days when I fail, but I'm starting to feel like there's going to be more when I succeed.
How do you feel about handmade things? What things do you make? How much of a part do they play in your everyday life?