My legs feel tired and stiff. That comes as no surprise to me because I spent most of the day fabricating carving benches in preparation for the Introduction to Carving Workshops that we have scheduled for the next few months. Fortunately, I had a couple of helpers who turned what would have been a trying couple of days labor for me alone into a very productive morning. I have long said that two people working well together can accomplish much more than twice what two people working separately can do. And in this case three people working together made short work of the task. Well maybe not that short, but we surely made a fine collaboration.
When I take part in a good collaboration I always get a warm fuzzy feeling; I always get filled with hope for the human species and find reason to break into an easy smile, something that the evening news never provides. Therein lies the attraction to the Carousel of Aloha Project for me, the knowledge that my work matters in this world and that together we can. I know that we’ve probably all that slogan attached to election campaigns both locally and nationally, but that doesn’t mean that it must be an empty slogan, and empty promise. I have faith that it won’t be for the Carousel, but faith must partner with sweat, ingenuity and good old fun before we can take our first turn on the big wheel.
In a few days I will put my chisels to the wood. I’ll try out the new carver’s mallet I ordered through the internet. It’s a big hummer that weighs in at 18 ounces or almost as much as a framing hammer. I tried it for a few minutes a couple of days ago and thought that it was a tad heavy. Good for the heavy cuts of roughing out but more than I want to wield for a whole day especially when carving fine details. I suffer from intimidation. I fear that I won’t be able to render the hibiscus that the class will carve at the end of September. I’ve felt this way before. I felt this way many times during my three weeks in Oregon carving with Ken Means, but I always managed to work my way through the fear. Going beyond the apparent limits that fear creates is another aspect of this project. I think that it has to do with finding our true selves, of becoming more of what we really are rather than settling for the best that comfort allows.
Tomorrow I will work in the garden. I will use other tools, quiet tools that I don’t have to plug into the wall. I’m carving out our landscape too, and that too feeds my soul. But now I need to rest my body.
Yen Chin, Hawaii County Project Manager