Recently Mike worked some on the retaining wall we need to build in our back yard. I like to watch him work -- though at those times his mind is so wholly occupied by the task that I fear I have little place there -- and I do like to be often near his thoughts. Still, if he happens to turn and see me at the window where I've momentarily paused from whatever task I was myself involved in, he'll give me a pursed lip, raised eyebrow smile that in turn sets me to smiling to my own self for some time afterwards.
He's so natural at working with his hands -- building, digging, fixing -- that it gives me a feeling of wellness or rightness about things just to watch him. He's often slow to be satisfied with his labors -- leveling here, adjusting there, and often often rethinking it all. When he's finished for the day, he stands for such a long long time looking and seemingly deeply considering what he's made. Often he's still thinking of ways it could be better (though how I can never tell) or what he'll do further on the project to bring it to a more full completetion, but amidst the planning and critisizing there is still always the feeling of something accomplished and sort of a calm satisfaction in the air. I like to watch him at that time best, and I try not to hurry him in my eagerness to have him back with us. Occasionally I go stand next to him to praise it all and look upon it all as if perhaps I somewhat understand the thoughts he himself could be thinking for so long about some cut and nailed wood. I can't exactly. It is more than cut and nailed wood, at least I do understand that.
Just last night I told Mike about these little peculiarties I've noticed while he works. Especially about him watching his work for so long afterwards. "I think that's the most content I ever am," he told me. I knew it was true and wondered what it is about the contentedness someone might feel so keenly from such work that made me feel so emotional. I guess it's that again -- more than wood and nails (or cement and dirt or whatever the medium of the days labors might have been). It's something I can mostly just sense or feel. Someone else perhaps, with the right gift, would know how to put it into words and then I'd understand myself (and Mike) all the better