This afternoon I prepared some fields for planting with a 60+ year old farm implement. We had to spray some WD-40 on the bolts, add a couple, and adjust the heads, but it otherwise worked great.
Just this morning I reinstalled a 50-60 year-old mirror that used to hang in my grandmother’s dining room, drawing on instructions from the 1960s that my own grandfather must have read (and ignored) when hanging it originally.
I’ve written before about how I love old things I can use, so you can bet I was excited to get some use out of both of these things that would to someone else have been artifacts. I like that by my work I can help these things continue to do work for me and my family.
This feeling is probably so gratifying because of how little continuity there seems to be anymore. Most people don’t stay in the same houses long, or go to the same church their grandparents did, or go to the same schools their parents did. I’m not saying all of these individual choices are for everyone, but they represent links in chains of relationship and shared experience that used to be a lot longer. Now we swap places out, we swap communities out, and we swap things out. Everything is built to be disposable within a generation, or obsolete in a matter of years. Fashions and building styles are timely rather than timeless.
But this isn’t how things always were. Many people used to think in terms of hundreds or thousands of years. People used to build cathedrals and kingdoms to last that long.
We may not have a kingdom. But we have land, a plow, and a mirror. And it just feels good to keep them going.