Annoyingly cheery people are fond of saying “If life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”
Evidently, some folks feel the same way about wood handed to them by hurricanes. Of course, you can add all the sugar and water you want to wood and not end up with a delicious beverage, but you can turn the wood into lamps and furniture, which is difficult to do with lemons, unless you don’t mind having your home decor get fuzzy over time.
The day after Hurricane Sandy, my wife Barbara and I went outside and started collecting chunks of the trees from around our house. While we were doing this, I’m pretty sure neither one of us was thinking “Oh, look, the storm has conveniently placed a possible coat rack on our front lawn.”
No, we just put all the limbs and bark in a pile, which I later brought down to the curb in a shopping cart from a defunct supermarket that we somehow acquired years ago (the cart, not the market). All those potential coffee tables and picture frames were just sitting down there waiting for the City of Stamford to collect them and turn them into sawdust (or maybe furniture for Town Hall). However being that the wood was sitting next to piles of leaves that had been out there since early October waiting for Stamford to collect them, I figured I had plenty of time to pick out a nice fragment of oak or tulip tree and use my imagination and ingenuity to create a wood-based work at least as beautiful as the lamp that master craftsman ShelBO626 posted on reddit.*
The amazing thing about Shel’s lamp (if I may call him or her Shel) is that he (or she) posted this photo of it barely a week after Sandy hit. That’s not a lot of time for design work or even woodwork, particularly if his (or her) power was out due to the storm. And, indeed, it seems to me that all old Shel did was stick a lampshade on a tree limb, much in the same way you might stick one on a drunk at a party. Hey, even I could do that, even with my limited (okay, nonexistent) hardware-related capabilities. Okay, maybe I would have had trouble mounting it on a base. And I’d have had no chance of wiring the darned thing so that it could actually be used as a lamp. I’d probably try to pass it off as a piece of sculpture and call it “Branch of Darkness.”
I wish I had the talent to turn “found objects” into worthwhile things like modern art and chandeliers and furniture. I’d make myself a great workshop filled will all sorts of tools I don’t currently know the name or function of, and I’d spend my days wandering the streets finding found objects which wouldn’t even be found objects until I found them,** and then I would spend my evenings holed up in my workshop creating magnificent works of art and possibly severing several of my fingers, and then I’d travel from craft fair to craft fair trying to earn a living selling my stuff, and then there’d be something else I’d need to find, namely a new wife, because Barbara would kick me out and tell me to take my friggin’ found objects with me.
I guess it’s a good thing I’m not handy, huh?
See you soon.
*UPDATE: Stamford arrived sooner than I had anticipated to pick up the “storm debris” (and even the leaves). So I’m sorry to say that I did not have enough time to select a promising branch from our pile, purchase a variety of saws, and create something, most likely a mess.
**Until then, it’s garbage.