We went to the Wooly Worm Festival–an annual event in honor of the Wooly Bear Caterpillar, aka the Isabella Tiger Moth caterpillar, which (according to local lore) is an accurate predictor of the coming winter’s weather (or at least no worse that a groundhog at predicting spring).
I thought the day’s highlight would be the famous wooly worm races. Yes, we entered a caterpillar, and yes, we finished pretty much dead last. Ah well.
But the highlight of the fair for me was the ten minutes I spent talking with a man who makes cigar box guitars. He had sold out by the time I got to his booth, and all he had left were instruments that my oldest dubbed “Spam-dolins.” We talked about his craft, how long he had been at it. We talked about his grandson, who seemed to be a natural with a guitar. We talked.
I’ve always admired people who dedicate themselves to a craft, whatever that craft is. And I’ve always felt that there is something meditative in most craft practices–be that knitting, or carving, or throwing pots.
Me? I guess the closest I come to a craft is cooking. I really enjoy the time I spend in the kitchen (well, most of the time, that is). And yes, there are dishes I prepare that have a certain meditative quality to them.
Frying chicken is one of them.
That may sound strange, but probably only if you have never fried chicken. There’s a certain attentiveness that comes with minding that cast iron fryer of mine, watching the pieces as they brown, carefully turning them, and keeping the oil at just the right temperature.
It may not be as impressive an act as turning a can of Spam and a piece of wood into a two-string mandolin, but it worked for me tonight as a moment of being-present.