Back in 2004, I had a small Coachmen trailer and went on a seven week caravan trip to Alaska. I had my 87 year old mother with me, and my daughter Robyn. What a time we had! Less than half way through that trip, Robyn got called up to active duty with the Army Reserves and had to fly out of Fairbanks immediately to report for duty. The rest of that story would take 16 posts to talk about, but that’s not what I'm thinking about tonight. I’m remembering that on that trip I was introduced to diamond willow walking sticks.
I fell in love with those walking sticks, but didn’t want to pay the exorbitant prices for one that the local merchants were asking. Instead, I purchased a bundle of unfinished sticks, and so began my hobby of carving walking sticks. Lots of ladies on the road quilt, or do crafts, or cross stitch, etc. Not me. Those kinds of things have never called out to me, and just made me nervous when I tried them.
But just give me a section of diamond willow, and I can sit for hours just working on it. It can be rather tedious work, and I’m no expert, but the wood tries to speak to me like fabric and thread never could. Each piece is different, and has its own special markings.
Back in 2009, when I was pretty new to this bogging thing, I ran a “Name this Skull” contest. A couple of people actually responded! The prize was one of my hand crafted diamond willow walking sticks. My brother, Carl, was one of the winners that recognized this feral pig skull.
The other winner was a Vet in Missouri. As it turned out, I was able to let her choose a stick as I traveled through her area. That’s when Emma was truly a ‘wild child’ and didn’t have any grey hairs. I haven’t heard from her in quite some time, and wonder where that stick has gone.
While in that area, a couple gifted me with some fresh trout they had caught, so I left a stick with a note in the back of their truck just before they left the campground. Don’t know where that stick has gone either. Also had a guy approach me about buying a stick, but I told him I only give them away to special friends.
It’s been some time since I’ve worked on my sticks. I have a small supply of unfinished ones that I’ve been carrying around with me for a couple of years, but two things have prompted me to once again work on this hobby.
First of all, my brother Kurt (aka Nurse Ratchet) mentioned that he would like one when he was helping me recuperate from my hip surgery in January. It seems the least I could do for the bed pan emptying and miserable white sock putting on. Then Rachel showed an interest recently about how they are made.
So tonight, I got the sticks out along with my trusty box opener, and once again found the sweet calmness of slowly carving off the bark of these sticks to find their uniqueness buried beneath the surface. I’m thinking that one in the middle might be special enough for Kurt, but who knows what lurks beneath the ones yet untouched?
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy