I’m refinishing the kitchen table, which has been well used and abused for twenty years as the family grew up eating around it, doing homework and art projects on it, serving as the “kids table” at many a Thanksgiving, and finally serving my wife and I in empty nesters, albeit with the leaf removed. But the surface had seen better days and for almost a year I kept meaning to get to refinishing it. And I finally have.
It’s drying in the garage right now. Brush strokes still visible in the bright sunshine. I’ll close up the garage so it dries more slowly. It’s most likely another coat or two removed from being complete, but has already been transformed by the process. And so am I. Time disappears when I’m focused on a project like that. My day job no longer involves working with my hands, save for typing on the laptop. And I miss it… though I don’t ever realize that until I start the next one. Refinishing furniture, building the deck, painting, bathroom on the Cape, brick patio, building (and rebuilding again) the pergola, and countless other projects that bring me alive again time and again..
Work has its moments, mind you. I serve the world in other ways. But the tactile experience of bringing a table back to life… its a different kind of reward. And so as much as I complain about home ownership it does give me a canvas to create a garden and a place of our own to do the work. And like the lilacs and day lilies and brick patio, the table could very well be another time machine to the future. I won’t go on forever – hopefully another healthy fifty years or so – but hey; the table might. You take on these projects and send them off to the future. Some may last, some won’t be around very long at all. But why dance with speculation? The table, and I, offer plenty to the present. At least after it dries.