Loriwen Snowberry pulled the bucket of water from her well with great effort. Holding it to her side with both hands, she awkwardly made her way toward her house. Putting it down briefly to open the door, she took a long glance at the waterfall, smiling at the water’s comforting roar. She made her way inside and began clearing her sturdy office table. The table always reminded her of her father: strong, sturdy, and practically immovable. It also helped a little bit that he carved it. Lori ran her fingertips along the tabletop, feeling the smoothed grains carefully, lost in thought. A few moments later, she snapped out of it and finished clearing off the desk.
The last item she reached for was her father’s whittling knife; now hers, to be specific. She held it in her hand, as she had done thousands of times before. She looked at it, holding it up to the light. The cherry-wood handle glistened, freshly waxed; the steel blade still shiny despite the numerous chips on it. She smiled softly, being brought back to the first time she was allowed to use it.
Lori walked along the stone wall toward her father, extra slow. She was clumsy, and she knew it. Always was, always would be. Giving up and hopping down into a soft pile of dirt, she ran over to her father. She was a bit big for him to lift up, but Rojer did it anyway (with a bit of effort). Safe in her father’s arms, Lori felt closer to a little kid than the whole eight years old that she was! Her father poked her on the nose, causing a quick swat and shake of the head.
“Hey, pumpkin-face. You want to learn some carving today?”
Lori’s face lit up, her bright teal eyes glowing with excitement. “Oh, yes! Please, pop; I’m old enough to use the knife!” She tumbled down out of her father’s arms, falling on the ground with an “oof!” Not to be deterred by falling down, she grabbed his hand and attempted to drag him along toward their farmhouse. He followed, laughing the whole while.
Her father sat her down upon his knee and handed her a large wood chip. “Now, Lori, this is important. When you carve wood, it isn’t about making the wood look the way you want it to. It’s about feeling the wood and understanding what it wants to be. Do you understand?”
The young girl’s head bobbed, strawberry blonde hair flying everywhere. She refused to keep it up or back, just like her mother. “I understand, pop!” She did as he had taught her: she held the wood with her eyes closed, running her fingers over it slowly. Lori looked up at her father’s dark green eyes—so unlike her own—and smiled brightly. “I think it wants t’ be a necklace!”
“Oh, ho! A necklace, do you think? What makes you say that?”
Lori looked down at the wood chip; it was no more than three inches in diameter. “Because it’ll make a sure pretty rose if you put it on a string!” She looked up at Rojer, searching for approval of her decision.
Rojer paused for a few moments of thought, looking from his daughter’s anxious gaze to the wood chip and back again. He nodded. “A fine choice, indeed! Let’s get started.” He wrapped his arms around his daughter, his only true possession in the world, and began to guide her hands in the carving of a rose pendant.
“First, you’ll want to hold the knife just like this…”
Loriwen blinked out of her reverie, realizing she had some tears in her eyes despite the smile on her face. She shook her head, as if the memory could be as easily shaken away. “Ah, that was so many years ago…”
She put the carving knife into a special pouch on her belt, which was clearly made just for it. Patting it quietly, she looked to the table her father carved before she was even born. It was a wedding gift to her mother, an intricately carved table upon which her mother could sew. Running her fingers over the table once again, she closed her eyes. “I understand, Dad.”
((Originally posted here.))