One summer afternoon, James was outside his RV, rearranging the gallery, whistling, when the park owner came up to him. Months ago, he had asked James about the beaverwood and James told him he enjoyed collecting interesting pieces. Back then, the owner gave him a strange look.
His look now was different. He told James the wood had to go, It was becoming an eyesore. James asked how so and the owner stumbled in response. James pointed out some real eyesores in the park, the year round, collapsed nativity scenes, the disused carpentry set-up and five rusted barbecues leaning against a rig. The owner waved it all away. The beaverwood had to go or James had to go.
It was an astonishing sight to behold to see James drive his Honda out of the park with beaverwood stuffed in the back seat, coming out the trunk, strapped down on the roof rack. He didn’t leave a stick behind and figured he’s just find a free place to camp for the summer and what to do with the beaverwood later.
That’s how James’ Honda ended up at the boat ramp. He’d seen it before while collecting and thought even then it might be a good place to camp near a river and really get to know a river. He might get a few answers from the river. Hell, it worked for Siddhartha and Huck Finn!
He’d stay for a couple of months and devise a plan for new housing when hard rain arrived. At one point, he knew he’d have to return to the world and face the faces he never wanted to see again. He was caught in a story he didn’t want to live.
It begs the question: how do you live your own story when others think they already have one written one for you, their first draft of story, riddled with errors, and badly in need of revision?
James took a run at the question every now and then and he always came up with the same answer: you build one, you keep building it with what you have around you, with what is innate, you rebuild even when sometimes the story gets washed away or torn down.
In other words, you build your story like the way beavers build their dams and lodges, in silence, off to the sides. You model the way beavers live. They are not mindless. They are mindful, attuned, in tune with nature.
But oh my…James did much more than just model. He did more than merely emulate.