Woodfest again at St. Asaph, don’t miss it! Or try to remember next year… There seem to be a number of different types of people exhibiting or competing. Most working in their field and making a living the way most of us do, wood things being a profitable sideline. There are the commercial firms whose machined products look out of place next to the hand crafted ones. There are also the minority of excellent craftsmen and women making their living solely from their craft, these are the ones one admires the most. Often the craft comes first, financial gain second. They do it for the love of the creating and the pleasure of the wood. I have to say that of all the very good and worthy people showing their skills there is none like the mushroom man, earning a living by turning wooden mushrooms out of Hazel. I imagine one day, he like others, was turning and demonstrating. Made a wooden mushroom and sold it there and then. Then he did another and chatted to those he was making them for as his chisles effortlessly cut away the wood. Where others put up safety screen and sat behind desks, he was stood up outside, nothing to stop the endless waves of wood chippings covering those watching. A few children at the front started to dance in the wood confetti tossing it over their heads in some mock wedding ritual, child meets wood, perhaps touching it for the first time in it’s raw state, ‘feel the wood’ he says ‘it’s wet, isn’t it?’ the youngsters learn this is green wood, straight from the tree, the best for turning, soft and supple it bends to the will of the blade. As the mushroom is finished, complete with ring, furry bits and cone topping, the crowd shifts slightly, those going away clutching a newly carved work of love. For the love of it, and with good humour, is the better path. There are few who can tread the narrow road, but theirs is the path to be travelled!
Rumi said, in the midst of conflict:
“I go into the Muslim mosque, and the Jewish synagogue and the Christian church and I see one altar.”
How open, or how big must one’s heart be to allow such a thought? Can such a radical notion of generosity of heart ever take root today? Perhaps not until we give up utterly what it is that we desire most will we come closer to that which is for the most part lost to us and beyond our reach for there is too much in the way.
Such is the heart of St. Dwynwen who gave up everything for the sake of others love.
To be honest, my words were a little stronger than the title here this afternoon, however after mulling things over / steaming / ranting, it became obvious that the object of my frustration could not be truthfully a generalisation – therefore the following comments are (I would dearly wish to hope, but will probably be proved wrong), specific and localised.
I seem to visit a lot of people – funny that – but most are not regular church goers. Those who profess to have a faith, are I find more often saying things like, ‘The vicar wouldn’t do this’ or ‘Me mam never went to Church after such and such an event.’ Families will talk happily of days spent singing in choirs or being involved some way or another in church activities, until some event. The latest made me ashamed to belong to this institution. The doors of our churches have been shut in the faces of too many people, the hurdles, hoops and obsticles that churchmen (they were all men in those days) put in front of people who were seeking God, a blessing or simply asking questions about meaning in their life were out of reach for many, making God seem distant and uninterested.
It is amazing that some still kept faith in such situations.
It is shameful on those who rejected them. I just feel empty and sad for those who were denied, angry at those who felt it their place to judge and make choices for others.