Sawdust

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There is something rather rewarding about working with a renewable resource; something familiar about the smell of fresh sawdust on the ground. A new wood stove means all the stored wood has to be cut down to a smaller size which will be well worth the labor when the cold comes.

The smell of sawdust reminds me of visiting Williamsburg, Virginia, and watching people saw through logs by hand to make lumber. The smell of sawdust reminds me of working with a lathe with one grandfather and cutting firewood out in the East Texas forests when I was young with my father. This smell reminds me of the old lumber mill near where my grandfather was raised, although I can no longer remember the name of some distant relative who ran it. I guess we are all related in some way or another in life.

Other grandparents raised their own food and livestock and sold crops for much of their lives. Artifacts of their efforts remind me daily what it took for my parents and their grandchildren to have different lives. Though more physically laborious, I think they loved what they did as much as I have enjoyed the careers life’s led me to.

It's important to find something you love to do in life and to do it to the best of your ability when the opportunity presents itself, whether that is within your lifetime or your grandchildren's lives. I haven't always been as appreciative of the sacrifices my family made for me as I should have been at various points in my life, but I hope I've reached an age where I am now. At some point, one just comes to realize that with age comes the responsibility of what you have been given; responsibility that I am not sure I completely understood when I was younger stacking and loading wood in those old East Texas forests, watching my grandfather work with a lathe, or watching people cut beams from logs by hand. Living well is an inherited, shared, responsibility to be lived up to if not improved upon by all descendants of past ancestral efforts. It does not always mean living easy.