I come here in the twilight of my Grandfather’s years to learn the craft of his hands, here within walls familiar where his plain coat and the coverings and cape dresses of Grandma and the aunts keep the world at bay, and I, tired of the spinning sphere of change, can return to roots put down in frozen soil long ago.

These journeys to the North Country are sacred revolutions in the ceaseless turning of my life’s wheel, round like the moon that led me here, here where a carpenter shop consumed by fire is raised up from blackened concrete in three days by the brotherhood of the church,
and I, bundled against the trials and tribulations of the world by the insurance company, yet still cold, am warmed by the power that comes from faith in God and neighbor.

I have come here after the fire to spin the gears of these machines rescued from the flames, wiped clean of firemen’s water and soot by Grandpa’s hand and gallons of WD-40, here where he bemoans the loss of 44 kinds of wood gleaned from forests around the world, wood he gathers to himself again and painstakingly glues together in patterns for inlay,
and I, so the craft will not be lost as well, with ears and hands wide open to the words of Grandpa, form these pieces into a star to anchor the frame, and take my place in the pattern begun by my father’s father’s father four generations before.

I visited New York on several successive Februaries to learn wood inlay from my Grandpa Lyndaker. This was written June 16, 2000 as I reflected on these visits. Originally published on

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