Friday, July 29, 2005

What's in a wrench

My colleague Poptart shared with me this photo of a late 19th century monkey wrench her father bought for her:

Which brought to mind rich memories for me:
That wrench is a truly a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, from another time, when a tool was more than a hunk of stamped metal made in China and sold in a big box warehouse - when a tool was something that represented a way of life, a means of support, which with use developed a unique patina and pattern of wear matching its owner's hands, and measuring unknown loves.

The way the wrench is worn reminds me of the well-used tools in my father's basement workshop up in Milwaukee. The smells of old grease soaked into rags and into the wood of the workbench mixed with the cool moist air of the basement. Despite the cold environs, it was an emotionally warm and comforting place to visit. As my dad diligently worked away on an engine or some other project, thick, coarse hands fidgeting with parts to see how they worked, or didn't work, his quiet presence was calm and reassuring. My siblings and I might play around in the basement, or just sit and watch my dad working.

Thanks for sharing.


There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.

Albert Schweitzer

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Mars sunset

From the NASA Earth Observatory service.