There is part of me that wants to open one of the little drawers inside the desk and get out a fountain pen, pull some linen paper from one of the slots and write in beautiful cursive script something inspiring. If not inspiring for the words themselves at least for the art of the medium. Like books of old with their engraved frontispieces and gilt lettered bindings. But I want to get this done sometime today. I don’t have time to be artsy or masterful. The public awaits and doesn’t really care if there is nothing outstanding or exceptional. All the added detail would seem unnecessary; just wasted time and space. Facebook is waiting! Emails need answered. There are games to be played and phone calls to make.
I imagine Uncle Dan in his barn-shop. A loving man, he made a desk as a wedding present for each of his four sisters. There he is, carefully cutting and shaping wooden boards. Sanding, inspecting and sanding some more. Fitting each piece into place; pieces that will fit no other desk. That have no use but this one. Gluing, nailing, making corrections, revising the plan as the work progresses. Taking mental notes about what to do differently on the next one. Preparing and applying the shellac. Attaching the pull rings to each of the eleven drawers and four doors. His labors slow but steady. The way the desk itself has survived the years. It just continues to be itself and so Dan continues to be himself. He had no idea that over a century later I would be writing about him. But as a result of his many hours of work and my many hours contemplating it – I am a better man. Not better than he but better than myself. And if not better at least happier! I don’t know ol’ Dan’s shortcomings. They don’t matter. And my own failings won’t matter as much as I fear. When I sit at this desk, my heartbeat slows. My body relaxes. My thoughts become more cohesive. Time almost ceases to exist.