I want to whittle, wood that is. Some of my most cherished objects are whittled animals from summer camp days. I whittled myself a bear out of a block of wood. I even whittled a fearsome owl who hoots now from a living room perch.
Long ago during a summer camp afternoon, the avuncular whittling instructor, likely clad in sawdusted plaid, whittled a bird out of a block of wood. He challenged the class: the first kid to guess the type of bird would win the wood. As children shouted eagle, robin, and pheasant, I said, “penguin.” I won that penguin. I didn’t realize thirty years later I would date a penguin.
I want to ask my Dad tomorrow for wood blocks. As I’ll be back to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, I can poke around his shop. I want to carve Wellesley wood.
I make complicated light-up hats and coats. Each bit of costumery takes up too much of my time and money to sell easily. If I whittle, I can finally make to give away. I can bestow whittled animals. I find joy when carved wood meets beast. Someday I’d like to whittle my own penguin.