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From Shore to Shelf

I wrote this story using the following prompt: RDP Friday – Bench

This narrative is about being found, being a keeper, and finding the beauty within.

From Shore to Shelf

My story started on the wild West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. I’d been sitting around on the stony beach, pretty much unseen along with other pieces of wood and driftwood that had been shaped by being thrown around on angry seas, or up against the elements on the shore.

To most, if not all, I was an ugly piece.  I had asymmetrical, rough edges, I was a dull dark morbid brown/ black with some lighter speckles in my grain. It wasn’t gold, we take on different colours when exposed to driving wind, rain, and the roll of the waves.

 My days were the same, only the weather patterns changed the colours of the landscape. The sun rose and after a while, it set, chased along by the moon.  People walked by, holding their hats against the wild westerly winds, brims held down and collars up.

Then one day a young man walked by.  He saw me among the smooth grey stones and stopped.  Intrigued and excited about his find, he crouched down and picked me up, examining my ugly, raw, uniqueness.  He grinned and nodded, tossed me gently in his hand, catching me with a firm grip that told me I now belonged to him.  He put me in his faded and worn canvas bag that hung from his shoulder. I went from light to dark and I jostled around in the bag as he walked along.

Later, I was taken out of the bag and put on a shelf with a lot of other wood.  There were all shapes, sizes, and colours.

“You’re new, where are you from?” a piece of Kauri asked me, its tone old and wise.

“I was on the beach, what about you?” I replied, feeling young and new.

“I’m from the forest.  I snapped off a branch, but you should see the rest of me! It’s still growing tall,” the Kauri answered proudly.

I was in awe.  Other chunks of wood were chosen by the man and they were set up on his lathe on his workbench.  One by one, the shavings flew from them as he turned their otherwise uninteresting exterior into a thing of beauty. The curly shavings flowed off the wood in quiet surrender as the turning tool worked its magic. Their grain and colours were spectacular.  The man was extremely skilled in his craft.

The Kauri and I stayed on that shelf for many years, getting harder as we aged. When it was my turn, the man was much older. His hair had receded and had turned grey, and his forehead had the lines of a thoughtful, busy, full life. He held me with the same reverence as he had on that wild West Coast beach all those years ago. His eyes glistened as he recalled that day. 

“I remember you,” He said softly and thoughtfully. “Let’s see what you really look like.” He put me on the lathe and as I whizzed around, he began to work, removing my ugly exterior and crafting my new shape. 

His expression was focussed, his eyes squinted in concentration and the tip of his tongue wedged between two missing bottom teeth. As my shavings peeled away to reveal my inner beauty, his expression warmed with delight as my true colours were revealed.

Once I lightly sanded and varnished, I became a dish that graced the dinner table.  I was enjoyed by the whole family; I saw the grandchildren grow and reach in to eat the nuts or ginger that I housed.  The family home had many wood-turned pieces, and I recognised the piece of Kauri as a larger fruit bowl.  It looked magnificent. 

I was in exceptionally good company, far removed from those early days on the beach where my only company was the buffeting waves and unforgiving weather. 

Here I would stay, appreciated, admired, and eventually handed down to the children.  All thanks to the man and his faded canvas bag.

(Based on real-life events.)

Thanks for reading

Copyright Fleur Lind © 2021


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