I wish I could truly describe the smell of grandpa’s woodshed. It bounces around in my head like a pinball game. Its like dust in the sunlight mixed with natural pine, but that doesn’t even begin… It was a quiet little room filled with silent tools. Which is weird, because you would think that a woodshed would be a place where things were moving around, buzzing, chopping and flustered. But Grandpa’s woodshed was always calm. Grandpa was always calm. He never announced that he was going to his woodshed, we would just discover that he’d been in there for hours, tinkering with nothing in particular – just something.
From the ceiling hung model airplanes of all shapes and sizes. Their vintage colors covered in a thin layer of visible time. There were small drawers, most half open, of odds and ends; old nails, a red and white bobber, some crusty rubber bands, some buttons, a screw or two. There were a variety of plastic cups and old margarine containers, some with cracked rims, that held small wooden pegs and short, fat pencils sharpened roughly with a pocket knife. There was an air pump under the wooden counter that would make a fuss when asked to do work and never really did a great job blowing up our popped swim floats, but even that didn’t seem to break the stillness of this forest room.
After my grandpa passed away I had some time with the shed. I knew that if I stood in that wooden woodshed with the large rough door closed behind me and the sun pouring in that center window highlighting some of grandpa’s odds and ends that I would remember him. The warmth of this place would seep into my skin and his thoughts would still be resting on the old shelves and worn counter.
As children we never really acknowledge our lives. We don’t see our lives or the people in them for what they are. But this is the way of life and it doesn’t feel bad, just strange to realize, in moments, how special it is. I think I get my quietness from him. My stillness. He and I understood that, even if it took me years to realize it.