While Cheyenne was recuperating from surgery over the weekend, I chose to busy myself with a project since I wanted to stay at home with her and there is only so much Lifetime TV that a girl can watch before her brain rots. (Truth.) The project I decided to tackle was to oil the two teak chairs and table that I have, the two chairs and table that my father bought for the covered porch in the back yard of our house. This was a task that, long ago, I HATED, didn't want to do, resented being asked to do, and pretty much sucked in my efforts to get it done. My efforts? Lazy and lame.
My father had a love affair with wood. He used his enormous hands to care for wood, sand it, treat it, oil it, build boats and fences from it. Me? I'd try to help but had very little interest and would quickly run out of the very little patience I had for such an intimate relationship as caring for any wooden anything as much as my father did. But I respected his relationship with wood and I loved to watch his hands work the wood, heal the wood, give it life and color. I loved to watch his eyes and his patient determination to preserve wooden items.
After we sold my parents' house, the chairs and table went to the cabin where they sat outside for way too long, enjoyed but not cared for. They became dry and ashen from neglect. When I bought my new house, I realized that those chairs and that table belonged with me. And this past weekend I decided to give them their life back.
While Cheyenne slumbered on her bed on the porch, I swept the debris from between the slats, brushed the bits of accumulated dirt and dust from the corners, and oiled the heck out of every inch. Hand on rag, rubbing the oil deep into the thirsty wood, I felt my father's hands around my own, heard his Rub with the grain voice in my ear, connected my hands with the path of his hands from years ago.
And for the first time, it mattered to me, to do a good job on these chairs. These were my father's and now they are mine. I experienced the wonderful relationship between my hands and the wood, between the dry thirst and then saturation provided by my own fingers. I felt the deep satisfaction of using my hands to take care of a piece of furniture so that I might enjoy it for a long, long time. Just like my father taught me.