by Sam Capener
A skilled craftsman has accomplished his latest project.
|The toymaker very carefully clicked the last pieces into place, completing his work from the past week. In his hands he held a little wooden train engine. It looked quite ordinary, boring even. It was simple enough that it may have been whipped up in a day or two, if not a few short hours. With an attentive eye the toymaker spun each wheel, assuring the quality of each moving part. He seemed satisfied with what he saw and with great care placed it back upon the table.
The frail old man stood up with a labored sigh and shuffled over to a large wooden box sitting in the corner of his workshop. As the lid creaked open he groaned from the effort, the box being of a hefty construction. What he pulled out was a whole armful of railroad tracks, just the right size for his new engine. They were made from the same dark-brown wood as the toy, each piece attentively smoothed by sandpaper. He picked a spot near the edge of the room and began to lay them down.
The toymaker slowly made a huge circle around the workshop, clicking each piece of track into place with fervor. Over several minutes the shape began to take form as he drew a large circle around the whole space. Each piece fit into his desired placement perfectly, and when it came time to close the circle his last track was just the right size and shape to connect the two ends together. He straightened, taking a moment to admire his efforts.
He shuffled over to his workbench where the little toy engine had been waiting patiently. Gingerly, he took it in his hand and knelt by the nearest part of the track. The little train lined up perfectly as its wheels gently fit into place. The toymaker kept his hand on the engine for a few moments. It was as if he was trying to hold it in place or keep it from tipping over. The air in the room seemed to hold its breath as the craftsman sat by his creation.
Finally, he released it. Instantly the tiny piece of wood sprang to life. Its maker watched from his knee as it raced across the track, already moving quickly and with enthusiasm. Its wheels turned smooth as butter, the only sound being of the treads meeting their tracks. It didn't sound like wood, however. If one was holding their ear against the door of the workshop they may have said it sounded like metal grinding against metal. In fact, if you happened to be standing a little closer you might hear the chug chug of a steam engine or the faint song of a train whistle as the little toy passed you by on its wooden tracks.
Although every window in that cramped workshop was tightly shut and hidden behind heavy curtains, a cold winter wind rustled the white hair of the toymaker as he watched the train chug along with humble contentment. Slowly, he brought himself to his feet. As the train raced around the room the hunched over, white haired old man began to put away his tools.