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This piece initially appeared within the November 2020 problem of Popular Woodworking

As I write this, I’m sitting in my basement (“home office”) in Minneapolis, a number of days after my 35th birthday.

It’s 2020, and the world is coping with the pandemic results of Covid. It’s not going properly for the United States.

I take into consideration how I received right here, so far in my life. Was it watching the New Yankee Workshop on weekends with my dad? Was it Mr. Bokern who confirmed me how you can write thoughtfully about nearly something in my highschool freshman historical past class? Was it Randy who employed me on part-time once I graduated from journalism faculty?

Was it my mother who indulged all of my wacky artistic impulses, together with practically a decade of taking part in host to band practices and house-shakingly loud music? Was it Monica, who gave me my first actual job with advantages and shot within the publishing world?

Was it Jim, who took me on video shoots and shared the ins and outs of full-time freelancing and inspired me to choose up a digital camera? Was it any of the opposite many influences I’ve encountered?

The reply, in fact, is all the above (and extra). I’m the product of all of those that aided me alongside the best way, who impressed me, who cared sufficient to assist me alongside.

I’ve been reflecting on this aphorism so much currently: “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.” It rings loud and clear for me immediately. As woodworkers, we profit straight from timber planted earlier than we have been born. Counting the rings on the top of a board is a good way to replicate on the passage of time.

On a extra philosophical bent, I’m serious about doing issues to make the world a greater place lengthy after I’m gone. Creating any sort of lasting change isn’t simple. We can donate cash, supply our time and dedicate ourselves to studying extra about completely different cultures. One single particular person can have a huge effect.

Even although private and societal politics have gotten very divisive, as a substitute of feeling ache or sorrow, I really feel hope. I’m an optimist, and I see so many individuals out on the planet doing good, constructing upon the progress that was made by earlier generations. Though I’ll not dwell to see all of the fantastic issues the longer term has in retailer, I nonetheless plan on doing my finest to verify tomorrow is best than immediately. Planting timber is an effective begin.

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