A lot depends on the way we face up to experience. We can’t dodge it. We are all conscripts in the hands of destiny, and when destiny gives its marching orders we have to follow where it leads.
Men who long for peace are called to war, or they are barred by circumstances from following some work or profession on which their hearts are set. But because man is what Emerson calls “a golden impossibility” we still retain that liberty of spirit which gives us the last word.
A man may take experience like a sleep-walker, hardly conscious of the world outside himself, or he may skim it superficially and gain enough from it for his immediate ends, or he may take hold of it, use his eyes, his intelligence, his reason on it, so that out of it he wrests something that will remain with him like a finely tempered tool giving precision, certainty and drive to his actions. And with such a tool he begins to shape at last the destiny which began by shaping him – one of the things that it is good for us to remember when life is taking many into strange paths.
To quote a 17th century follower of Galen: “they who cultivate the good seeds which nature have set in them, prove not shrubs but Cedars in their generation. And to be in the form of the best of the Bad or the worst of the Good will be no satisfaction to them.”
— Charles Hayward, The Woodworker, 1955
“The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years” is now in our warehouse and is shipping this week. Parcels should begin arriving next week (we hope).