The morning broke low and cool, not with some majestic gaudy display across a wide empty horizon, but slowly with a thousand meek rays reaching tentatively through the maze of tree trunks and bushes. I made my way down the narrow tree lined trail enjoying the crunch of crisp gravel under boot, and the warm glowing ache of my right arm as my tool tote grew heavier with each step. A nervous wood thrush bolted swiftly up from my pile of timbers to alight in the large sugar maple tree above, fluffing and warming himself in the early morning breeze.
With a a sigh I lay my tote upon a fat timber of oak and began to lay out the days tools with reverent care upon the timbers, in easy reach, and in good order. A smirk crossed my lips as I gazed across my small contingent of useful tools. A few chisels, a smoothing plane, rip and crosscut saw, auger bits, spirit level, snap line, mallet, framing square…yes they were all here, with these simple tools you can build a house…
Once the moment passed I unsheathed old Bertha with somewhat of a flourish, as some ancient knight might his beloved sword, and sank her shining teeth deep into the wood of a joist. With each stroke she sang and sank ever deeper into the wood, following my gentle guiding as a sturdy draft horse would. I thought of all the years she must have suffered such loneliness and depression, closed away in a dusty old barn. For there is a soul in these old tools, though most dismiss the notion.
They were forged in the foundries of old, great factories worked by solid tireless men, akin to the smithies of the dwarves! They were tools crafted expertly of need, to build houses, to carve and cleave and rive out of wood all that is good and just. Yes, and they were used, expertly by expert men of the trades, until such men faded away like a summer rain gone too soon… Then then sat, hoarded by some, forgotten by others, lost in time as it were, until the misery of the job undone, the longing for the masters calloused touch, the deep sadness of the absence of need drove them to cry. It is these steely tears which cause old tools to rust, to fade away into the night, to crumble into themselves and lose that brilliant shine and stately countenance which they long held…how terribly sad a fate to be at once a Tool unused for its purpose!
Being one who loves lost things, and such the romantic at heart, I find true joy and endless satisfaction in bringing these aging ladies back to their former glory. With but a bit of oil and a rub of the stone, a quick pass of the file, these sad flowers shunned to the night grace us again with their beauty fully in the day! Not with the obscene noise, or repulsive vibration common to lesser tools born of modernity, but harmony of form and function carried true from a bygone age!