Monday, August 15, 2005

High Point

Today was a great day, probably the best day I have spent in Cumbria so far.

I went with Owen Jones into the forest, riding side-saddle on a 4-wheeler, bouncing over rocks and through mud puddles into a protected section of the forest leased by the National Park Service. In exchange for demonstrating his work and helping me make a swill basket, I had agreed to help Owen in the woods for a day. After surveying the piles of wood in his outdoor studio with a "shopping list" of kinds and sizes he needed for various projects, Owen set about felling some trees including the one we will use to make the basket. Using a chainsaw, he gracefully groomed each fallen tree, and I sorted and stacked the pieces into the correct piles. It felt like tidying the forest, and was very satisfying.

On our way out, we stopped when Owen saw a hazel branch sticking straight up from its tree trunk at a 90-degree angle from the ground. It will be perfect, he said, for the oval rim of the basket. So he sawed it off, handed it to me, and it became my lance as we charged out of the woods.


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