My Backyard Boats:

Archive of On Deck log entries: 15 January 03

 

The container, the thing contained

[This is the tone-setting post to the On Deck log]

    15 January 03: At some point in my brilliant career as an undergraduated student majoring in English literature, I heard a phrase that I loved immediately and understood later, if at all:

     "And so," the prof said, "the container becomes the thing contained."

    She was talking about a poem, maybe one of Shakespeare's sonnets. And the container became the thing contained -- the sonnet turned inside out and redefined itself. The student caught a glimpse of eternity. The totality of the old way of seeing became a subset of new eyes, borne of new ears.

    Or try it this way: What is more beautiful? Building a boat, or just after? The building, or the messing about in the built? Or both.

    I'll have one of each, please.

    I'll have it both ways, the building and the messing about, and I'll find joy in both. The container and the thing contained. And like wood that warmed Thoreau when he cut it and again when he burned it, I'll have both the building and the messing about in my mind as well , in the spaces of time before sleep, and in the moments of dreaming with eyes wide open.

    Winter wins. The score is tied at near zero (the low 20s, actually). The tie goes to the winter. I keep counting the months until I can begin building another boat in my garage. I keep coming up with half of January, all of February, all of March, and maybe just a little bit of April.

    It's time for dreaming. Time to put something on deck, for joy, for winter, for sanity.

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