Sharp Enough to Use

Sharp Enough to Use

By: Timber Jones

It would appear that my entire life has led me to a little window.  Allow me to explain….

You see, I was born on a cold day, about 20°.  Instead of my mama wrapping me in a blue baby blanket, she placed me in a buffalo plaid flannel.  Instead of a baby rattle, my daddy gave me a double bit axe.  Then, they set me off into the deep woods and said, “Go become a man!”.

I took a walk around the river and watched as the ice barges broke through the frozen waters.  I then went to the edge of my grandfather’s land and looked out over the great valley.  Over my shoulder was the Patterson Oak that seemed like it was sitting on the hill as its throne.  But I had to move on….

At the coast of Maine I stood watching the cold Atlantic crash against the rocky shoreline.  It forced me inland and so I moved on….

I traveled the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia.  The Shenandoah Valley was wild and vast.  I was too young and perhaps it was too wild, because it taught me terrible things.  And so, I did what I did best and moved on….

The corn fields of Illinois, the green pastures of Kansas, and the Mississippi River all seemed to go on forever.  So off I went in search of the end….

In California, I stood at the roots of the Great Redwoods and was minimized at best.  The Pacific Ocean didn’t seem to want me as it tried to push me far away from the coast.

I was told to become a man, but I wasn’t told to be content.  I finally saw that the two cannot be separated.  

The axe that my father gave me was becoming sharper the more things I saw and did.  The simple things that I didn’t notice at first would be what finally gave it that good, keen edge.  My father loved my mother.  My father worked hard and was pretty much a quiet man.  He gave me an axe and it was sharp enough to use.  

So, instead of looking for another great view, I looked to my father’s life and re-heard all the things he taught me by doing rather than telling.  Letting these lessons sink into my life was the sharpening of the axe he gave me.  It was now time to come home.

So, with my family, I have come to our cabin in Sawmill Valley.  There is less tread on my soles now, more patches on my overalls, and a lifetime of memories of the places God has brought me.  They were beautiful places, but none can hold a candle to what has become my favorite view.

At the bottom of our hill is my axe shop.  It is a small room tucked in the corner of the woods.  In the winter, when evening comes sooner, I sit at the bench and look up the hill to our cabin glowing from the light of coal oil lamps.  It’s through a little window in my shop that I see my family.  Everything has led to this view, of which there is no rival.  Nowhere in any valley, or mountain range, or coastline, or open field is such a breathtaking view to be seen.  Nowadays, my axe is sharp enough to use and my heart is content.