Tools of Craft

I have great respect for people who practice a craft with excellence.

That is not limited to welders, woodworkers or knitters. Speakers, writers, gardeners and other dedicated practitioners who practice their craft and constantly refine it are inspiring to me.

I thought about this while I was sweeping oak pollen off my porch and sidewalk late this afternoon.

I am dying from oak pollen (thank you, Texas) and am tired of tracking it into my house as I walk in from my car. My broom disappeared thanks to my brother, so I headed to Home Depot to get a new one. I got a Bulldozer landscape broom. It is amazing.

In short order the pollen was off the walk, I was not breathing clouds of it and I was admiring my new tool…and thinking about how necessary good tools are to good work.

I am much better at my craft because I have selected tools that enable me to practice and (to a reasonable extent) perfect my craft. Even if that craft is sweeping oak pollen.

And I think that’s the point.

I was focused on acquiring the best tool to sweep pollen, and I selected a tool for that purpose. The tool worked well, even better than expected, and I was able to accomplish my goal swiftly and efficiently. I did a really good job at sweeping pollen, but my effort was minimized by the tool I selected. I was then able to go on to other things, like making dinner and checking the many legislative-related emails I received today.

That seemingly small or annoying task was made into a craft-focused effort because I recognized the value of tools to craft, and was able to be present in what I was doing and reflect on the nature of excellence in craft. I am looking forward to applying that thinking to other things I do.