X is for Xylophile
There's something about wood. All on its own, living wood curves and bends in upon itself, or around obstacles, or outward and upward toward the sun.
Wood is ubiquitous, especially in New England. It blooms, it grows, there's no stopping it, it can only be held at bay by constant effort, as many a weary gardener has discovered. Anyone who has neglected a sprouting oak seedling for a season knows how downright stubborn wood can be.
Yet those very same infuriating traits reveal themselves as virtues in another context. Watching the lacemaker at work, I could see the pleasure in manipulating the bobbins, the warmth and substance of wood in the hand. Imagine plastic bobbins: certainly they would serve, but they would never glow.
Consider the stool I sit on, its legs turned and balanced, angled for stability, each one a peg for a hole in the solid round seat. The stool rests on the wood floor, rough but serviceable and forgiving underfoot (so different from the ceramic tiles in my kitchen that will bruise my sock feet). The barn walls are wood too, again nothing fancy but just the right material for the job.
And then, of course, there's the glory of the machine I'm working with. Hardwood is flexible enough to curve, soft enough to carve, strong enough to treadle and spin. The spinner and the wheel are partners in the dance, and it's beautiful.