George Nakashima wrote, "Every tree, every part of a tree, has only one perfect use." His philosophy is both enlightening (search deeply for the potential in everything) and paralyzing (don't use it yet, there must be a better use in the future). My woodpile covers one end of the shop. It includes oak (white and red), walnut, cherry, maple, pine, cedar (aromatic and western red), douglas fir and odds and ends of beech, basswood, hickory, pecan, and 20 other species. Some are ordinary store-bought pieces, others are one-of-a-kind boards. The white-painted piece in the middle is a roughsawn walnut rafter from a 100-year-old house in town. The 8/4 vertical grain doug fir on the bottom were door jambs from our home in Alabama. The 4" rock maple was a pin block in a grand piano.
This woodpile is like the new year in front of us--so much potential in all the different days that lie ahead. What "project" will we make of each day? Can we discern the "perfect use" of every day and bring out its beauty through careful work? Or will we turn a special one-of-a-kind day into an ordinary sort of thing because we didn't see the potential?
My wish for your New Year is the inspired vision to see the potential in the days you are given, the skill and wisdom to make the most of them, and the peace to enjoy the blessings of the day.