Whittling a Way

“verb (used without object), whit·tled, whit·tling.

to whittle wood or the like with a knife, as in shaping something or as a mere aimless diversion:to spend an afternoon whittling.

to tire oneself or another by worrying or fussing.”

They say the Devil makes work for idle hands… I’d say the Norns make sure hands are never idle…

I’ve always had runes around the house, since I guess 1991… No, definitely 1991, that’s not a guess, I can pinpoint the time. I remember opening the first box whilst I was gravid with number one. I could never read with the things, they’d always find a way to escape from their bag, no matter how tightly I tied them in… I’d have to round them up, count them, look for escapees, throw them and then give up trying to make sense of them as I was always convinced (and quite rightly so) that I was mispronouncing their names. It didn’t feel respectful to mangle and maul old languages…

Over the years, I’ve made countless sets of runes… Clay, painted glass, burnt wood, gathered pebbles…Even glow in the dark ones. Each time thinking that this time would be the time they’d finally click into place and I’d remember the necessary words to weave magic…


I’d put them away and every so often I’d come across another escapee… The language barrier would again present itself and I’d write them off as maybe something not for me…

I didn’t know their names but seems they knew mine as they’d call and call and call…

It’s a strange thing, you resign yourself to quitting and then things change. Instead of being words to learn, suddenly they’d taken on form as living, breathing, 3D, pulsing, turning, entities… Ballet-esque and poetic, scribing out new shapes and stories I could watch… The names not exactly irrelevant but certainly something I didn’t need to be perfect at.

I’m not exactly sure when that happened. I’m not good at dating things unless I can tie them to other events. But anyway, they’d come alive for me… I found that once I started working with, rather than against, them, I was drawn more and more to working with wood…

You know sometimes when you just get a strange idea that you’ll just be able to do something straight off the bat? (Or is that just me?) Anyway, I got it into my head, that I would be an excellent (jeez! Autocorrect switched excellent to insane!) woodcarver 🤣 Yes, I know! Then reality reminds me that my fantasy and capabilities are poles apart! 🤣

Strange thing is, I don’t really care that I’m bad at it. Some days I’m not so bad and shapes feel to fall out of wood and the knife moves in my hand like some kind of past life memory… That’s a good feeling but also a precursor to another failure… Because when that happens then I get big ideas and…

Oh dear… That’s nothing at all how I imagined it would turn out…

But again, I don’t really care. My ugly lump of wood feels good in the hand and as I turn it, I recall the story(which I’ll save for another day) that the Norns revealed to me on that day…

To me, whittling is not an aimless diversion… OK, it’s aimless but it’s not without result… Is it a diversion? Isn’t everything a diversion of some sorts? It’s a diversion that carves out a direction… And whittling wood sure puts paid to tiresome worrying…

Plus there’s something I really like about handling a razor sharp blade… Maintaining a lose focus but not an absent mindedness that’s going to cost you a thumb… There’s probably a metaphor for life in there somewhere… But then again isn’t everything a metaphor, if you choose to see it that way?

4 thoughts on “Whittling a Way

  1. Oh Yes Wow Yes! Such a totem pole quaternity of faces you emancipated from the wood there! Love the whole tenor of your attitude and carefree effectiveness that weaves through the whole fabric of this post, and… escapes out over here to make tingles and ablution flows catalyze good more creation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just asked the Google Oracle why tactile activities clear the mind. I found this
      “Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.” ~ Carl G. Jung
      I’ll take that! 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes! That’s one of my faves from Mr. Carl. I also full-on dig your “Whittle A Way.” Like whittling away, though different.

        Action speaks louder than words, also applies to the creative act, huh? 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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