Begin at the Beginning

Alright, first post, breaking ground! Starting at the beginning, and jumping right in….

So my dad sent me this article in the Seattle Times a couple weeks ago…
I read it and of course loved the idea and then, of course, had to build my own. I haven’t really built anything out of wood since I was about seven years old, though, and that was a bookshelf that I built with my dad. And by “built with my dad” I mean handed him tools and screws and things, and helped decide how big it should be, and then when it was finished stuck unicorn stickers all over it. Like I said, I was seven. It was a pretty great bookshelf, though, so I figured it would be a great father-daughter project for us to build a library together — and if my dad helped, it might actually turn out plumb and weatherproof. Win!
So. The Idea Was Born.
We browsed the Little Free Library homepage for a few days, looking at examples and plans, and I got out a pencil (I haven’t really used a pencil since college, I much prefer pens, but pens aren’t The Thing when you’re Doing Construction, so I decided to go pro and use a pencil) and started sketching things. It was great.
Then I was walking home one day and I had an epiphany (I have lots of epiphanies while walking). I didn’t want to just build a generic box of books and call it a library. No. That’s not how I roll, you know me. It had to have meaning. Layers and layers of meaning. It had to have a grounding philosophy, and a purpose, and a goal, and a reason, and Meaning with a capital M. This took some consideration…
On that walk, it came to me. Flashback time:
When I was little (again, probably about seven or younger), I used to ride around in a pickup truck with my dad, all around the enormous apple orchard he managed. I would help him with projects (you know, handing him tools and so forth), we would have adventures and picnics under apple trees and watch deer and great horned owls and explore cow pastures and climb over rocks and watch osprey catch fish in the river. It was a great way to grow up. I could go on for pages, but I digress…
In my dad’s pickup truck, there was a workbox. He had made it himself — it was a big plywood box with a hinged lid that fit between the two front seats, and it had all his work stuff in it: notebooks, and pencils (see? Pencils! Super pro!), and labels from spray cans, and a little reference book that had Everything about Everything (it was awesome, now I have one too), and a calculator, and a ruler I think, and graph paper, and a multi-tool, and some other tools and wrenches and things, and lots of other things I can’t really remember. It was really cool, and he had all sorts of Useful Things in the workbox. Also it doubled as my booster seat in the pickup truck, because I was little and I couldn’t see out the window when I sat on the seat.
One of the things in the workbox, along with all the tools and practical things, was a little green book. It was a tiny copy of Walden; Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau. I was too little to read it, but I loved it anyway, and I took it as an obvious fact that it was every bit as essential to his job as Orchard Manager, Dad, and Generally Amazing Person Who Could Build and Fix Anything as a screwdriver, calculator or wrench.
Yeah, my dad is a pretty awesome guy.
So Walden has been part of my life for nearly as long as I can remember. I didn’t read it until I was much older, but when I did, it became part of my canon and one of my desert island books, too.
So it was obvious, really, that the first house I was building (library, whatever, a library is a house for books and that’s every bit as much a house as a people-house), and the first BUILDING I was really truly building, and the first woodworking project for my dad and I since I was a little girl… well, of course I was going to build my own Walden. There was really, as I told my dad when I called him later that evening, no other possible option.

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