Crafting crayons by dripping wax is my Zen Meditation.
I lose track of time. I solve the niggling and not so niggling problems in my life and sometimes, it extends to the sphere of the world. Sometimes I have epiphanies and have to pause the fire torch to weep. And it is weeping, not crying. I love when this happens. It tells me that my world is in a state of balance. That I have connected a stray dot, woven in or taken out a loose thread, let go of something that no longer serves.
It’s at times like these when I remember my father. Two things about him: How he created a refuge in the cellar. There he worked, in that same Zen space with the Zen clock, constructing his model airplanes, along with his model trains and creating the landscape, the train stations, the bridges and the tunnels over which and through which his trains would traverse. The model airplanes he flew in a field near the local airport.
Second, my father was an aeronautical engineer, and he designed the system of weights and balances in the weather satellites of the 1960’s.
So the space I inhabit, ancestrally, lineage-wise, is his, and those who went before him – his father, a mason, and my mother’s father, also a mason. I used to sit in the dirt when my father and his father built a concrete structure – the old and weathered hands of my grandfather, cement on his trowel as it slapped the wet mixture [whose ratio had to be just right – and this fascinated me – how do you know how much water to add?] – onto the cinderblock, as he filled in the spaces between, and then evened out the excess – slow and steady; the excess never fell onto the ground for he quickly trimmed it and re-allocated it to the top of the cinderblock.
I was fascinated with the plumb lines of string suspended from a row of cinderblocks, and especially with the “spirit” or bubble level that measured whether it was level. These small tools mesmerized me into that Zen space, as I watched how my father made sure that the beautiful yellow bubble was perfectly centered. And neither he nor my grandfather ever yelled at me when I fiddled with the bubble level to watch the center move. I could have watched it for hours as it cast its spell over my wondering eyes.
So I find it fascinating – born, bred, and buttered in a construction lineage, that I’m mesmerized by the unpredictability and beauty of wax, my life balanced in a different medium than the concrete of my mason grandfather.