To date, I calculate I have produced approximately 1,738,893 wood chips, conservatively. My estimate may be quite conservative considering the two years I spent carving Totem poles.
After a while one chip looks pretty much like the last one and the one before that. Sure there are big chips and teeny-weeny chips and every size in between. Yet, when they are all swept up into a pile, I have to admit I couldn’t tell you which chip came from what part of the carving.
Once in a while I may find a stray woodchip and wonder which carving it came from; and how it got into my underwear. But most of the time I really don’t give it much thought anymore. Years of whittling have worn the edges off the excitement of seeing a new chip being born.
You may think I am talking foolishness, where is the glory in making a woodchip?
In truth, I hadn’t given it much thought for many, many years. I have been focused on the carvings, not the chips that were falling.
Then a strange and wonderful thing happened; my five year old granddaughter asked if she could carve with me. Of course, I couldn’t refuse her; so holding her tiny hand in mine we pushed the gouge through the wood.
I didn’t even see it coming; a little ember somewhere deep inside me burst into flames again.
There it was, smooth and shiny, curled and cracked, my granddaughter’s first chip. Her excitement was unrestrained as she picked it up and ran through the house showing her Mom, Dad and Grandma.
I sat there looking down at my neglected chips on the floor.