Sunday, March 30, 2008

the trouble with perfect

that lovely new dish gets chipped, there's a spot on the wall where the paint got can really get to you. a snag in a sweater, hole in your jeans, a scratch on the new leather shoes. a dent in your car, a stain on the bedspread.

the trouble with perfect is that we think we have to get a new one. or find a way to perfectly conceal the flaw.

but the flaw is a trace of our existence, our motion through life. our posessions are marked by our passage. and all things are in transition. all things will one day return to what they were made of. this is a natural process.


i am working on a table. it is a challenge to make a good table, and yet to be at peace with its imperfections.

there are scratches and stains on some of the pieces of wood. one board has paint drips on it, which i love. some of the smaller pieces had a former life as a dresser drawer before i claimed them.

i do want the table to rest solidly and quietly on its four legs. but the fact that it is a little bowlegged on one end because i carved a too-large chunk out of a leg...that is just part of its character now.


the difference between real wood and fake pressboard is in how it ages. real wood can look good even after 50 years. the weathering and scratches eventually give it real charm. but pressboard (like my ikea shelves) tends to end up on the side of the road after 5 years, and it doesn't have charm. it just looks bad. even if it looked perfect when you bought it.

i'll post a picture of the new table very soon.

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