Senin, 18 Juni 2012

Summer and Small Boats

I love small things: the little red double-decker London bus on my son's bedroom window sill, model trains, doll houses, the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago. My friend Maureen showed me these rooms 13 years ago. I was in the city for an American Symphony Orchestra League conference, and she was living in Chicago. Maureen shares my love of small things, and the Thorne Rooms -- 68 tiny rooms, elaborately and painstakingly constructed by a master craftsman -- are truly enchanting. I have returned to the exhibit a few times since that introduction, and the magic never diminishes. Whole lives are imagined in them.

I love little boats too, and a few years ago, when my family was cleaning out my grandparents' home,  I brought two decrepit ones home to fix up. I moved them around the basement from one spot to another, always with wonder and longing, and finally sent them home with my dad one day last spring, so he could help think about how best to restore them.

Last week at the cottage, we fixed them up and got them in the water. My son painted the larger boat, and he and my dad measured and thought and measured some more, figuring appropriate sail sizes. I drew patterns for the sails and sewed them, and my dad helped Tommy rig them.

I'm not sure why there is such magic in small things. Full-size boats are great fun too, though, there again, I tend to prefer small full-size boats. I do know that some of life's greatest pleasures are in creating things: sewing, building, carving, baking, painting, writing. It was satisfying to hand-stitch new sails for old boats, and fun to see my son's satisfaction as he sanded and painted.

Of course, we had great fun sailing the boats, too: first the little one, down a creek we love, and later the bigger one, which ACTUALLY SAILS! Across the wind!

Here's the creek, and the little boat (named, by Tommy, "Small Pride"):

Tommy at Work:

The Sailmaker's Stitches:

A Boy and His Boats:

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