Aren’t the tools beautiful?

I am grateful that there are still so many things to learn in the world!

My daughter wanted to learn to use a lathe, so she and I took a class together. Mother-daughter woodworking.

I didn’t have any expectations – I wasn’t expecting to be “good at” woodworking. I wasn’t expecting to love it, or even find it interesting. I was just tagging along with my kid, because to take the class she found, she needed a parent to take it with her.

And I didn’t turn out to be particularly skilled at it – there’s not a second career out there for me as a woodworker. But the beauty of it all took my breath away.

The first day, the instructor let us choose from a selection of wood scraps he had already partly turned, so that we could learn to use the lathe. I chose a piece of maple, and used a lot of tools.

The next class, the instructor laid out straight up branches for us to choose.

It’s not that I didn’t know that wooden things come from trees. Of course I knew. But the experience of turning a branch makes that viscerally real.

I chose a branch of a Kentucky Coffee Bean tree, because of the swirliness, and because … coffee.

We were supposed to make candlesticks, but mine didn’t look too candlestick-y, so (with the instructor’s help), I made it into a pencil holder.

Who doesn’t love a blurry photograph to hide their imperfections?

I loved doing something that I didn’t need (or expect) to be good at – and that it didn’t matter whether I did it well or not. The pencil holder – now on the desk where I do work where I am expected to be “expert” – reminds me of the joy of being inexpert sometimes, too.