Foolish Impracticality is the light at the end of the tunnel.

OUCH!!!!!  I smashed my thumb a second time with the business end of a hammer. This was followed by an egregious mistake while cutting an outlet opening into a 12-foot-long tongue and groove board while plugging away at finishing out my wife’s new art studio. It took these bone-headed confrontations with an impenetrable wall of reality for me to see I needed to step away. I was becoming too practical, bordering on Type A, while pushing to get through this project. This is the great danger with all house projects.

At the first moment of such a flash of insight, it’s immediately time to stop being a tool. I dropped the tools and found my way to the cider-pressing party that I was delaying attending (because it was cutting into valuable work time on a beautiful day). To further reset myself, I made sure to ride my bike to the party in an effort to slow down and take in a healthy dose of vitamin D.

If I had driven a car I would have hustled home 45 minutes later for sure. The impracticality of the bike was just what I needed. Stopping to pick up an unwieldy leaf vacuum (for chopping leaves to mulch the garden with next year) in near-darkness added further to my appreciation of the experience. My friend asked why I hadn’t brought a car, and I just laughed in response. Hustling the larger-than-anticipated item home whilst I pedaled was an object lesson for me.

People are impractical too. Narrowing it down some, so are wives and children. We could get so much more work accomplished without them couldn’t we?

At the party I enjoyed short conversations with people I otherwise would never encounter. A five-minute conversation with a local artist, http://www.adamswanson.com, who’s work I greatly appreciate was especially meaningful. One of his pieces graces the wall in our living room, and he seemed to be encouraged by the fact that I delight even more in this painting now that I’m unemployed than when we purchased it some years back. Many of the elements of the work match my own experience. This one short encounter was worth the loss of much of an afternoon’s work.

Then there was the Nederlander I was pleased to meet. His entire dress and demeanor set him apart. Even the name, Tjaard (pronounced Chart), is fascinating. I commented on the irony of a man from Holland, one of the Low Countries, being such a winter sports fanatic (ice climbing, skiing, etc). He confirmed the irony given that his country is essentially like a widely spread out river delta aside from a couple glacial erratics standing three-feet-tall. Remarkable. A couple medium-sized boulders are noteworthy in this country, and remarked upon half a world away. This prompted a short conversation about how climate change is viewed differently in his country. Managing rising water levels in such a place moves the conversation out of the abstract. Some of the details of this, previously unknown to me, were particularly fascinating. Soon I’ll write a post about coming clean as a Christian conservationist/environmentalist (terribly impractical, and very much like coming-out-of-the-closet in some quarters).

This conversation, and several others that were equally noteworthy, was completely impractical. Boards weren’t being cut and fitted into place. The bankers and businessman that largely run this world would have you believe that such matters are trifles since no dollars and cents are involved. No work is being done. However, now two days later I have maintained a greater buoyancy and perspective that do indeed help me accomplish work with more patience, skill, and love.

Finally, I am thrilled to delight in the impracticality of the sabbath. To help with this I’ve been scheduling our family adventures on Sundays. Getting out of the house really aids me in not just working on a project all day. It would have been a crime to neglect my family on one of the last truly lovely Fall days of the season. Here we are atop Ely’s Peak in Duluth:

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On our way down we meandered down an unmarked trail for the possibility of meeting up with the abandoned railroad tunnel that was blasted through the volcanic rock over a century ago. Slow living. Appreciating life. Impracticality. Pass it on….

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