Outside, the snow is heavily falling, and then it’s driving sideways against the house. The wood stove fights a losing battle against the bitter breath of a raging wind forcing its way through cracks we never knew we had. The chill nibbles at my ankles and stiffens my fingers. Not far from the stove and its meager warmth, my youngest son plucks at his banjo strings. I’m seated close to my patient Man About the House as he gently instructs me in a new craft project. Trying to meet his patience with my own, I hear myself saying, “This is a painstakingly detailed project.”
Painstakingly detailed craft projects are the kind from which I run. I’m not sure why I run from them when I eagerly grip teeny artist’s brushes in my paint-stained fingers in order to perfectly edge the corners of my bathroom. I have a penchant for embroiling myself in painstakingly detailed projects, so long as they aren’t considered crafts. Maybe I’ve spent years teaching crafts to children, knowing that I can’t afford to get lost in too many details. Maybe I’m afraid I’ll lose interest before I finish. Maybe I’m reluctant to concentrate on something I think should be entertaining. Maybe I don’t want to clean up the mess when I’ve finally come up for air. Maybe I should stop looking for excuses.
For right now, though, I’m inched up tight to calm, kind and patient himself. The man who never sits still is seated next to me, gently lifting tiny paper pieces with an exacto knife while we laugh at our mistakes and he wonders aloud at his boldness in saying he’d teach me. Let it snow, let it blow, let the fire strive with the cold. Today, I’m all about the details. And days like this don’t happen enough.
©Erika Rice 2015