He was thirteen before he knew
what a hand drill was. His father
saved and bought him one for 75 cents.
Before that, he made holes in wood
by twisting coal-fired nails into the
grain. It was his job to throw wood
in the fire after school. When red
hot, he’d pinch a nail with a pair
of pliers and twist it through the
wood, which went soft and dark
until there was an opening. Now
his skin is thin and just last week
he stumbled out of bed and landed
tearing like a thin curtain. It took
an hour to stop bleeding. He just
took care of it himself. We are
held this way in the fire of time
where we go soft and dark till
our skin goes thin and just
waking tears us open.
A Question to Walk With: Ask an elder in your life for a story about the first tool they learned how to use.
This excerpt is from a new book in progress, Compass Work: Finding Our Fathers While Finding Ourselves.
*Photo credit: Pixabay