Just a thought!

I nearly bought a skateboard today, there’s just something about this place that makes me want to roll down the streets like the Z-boys.  Right now I’m in Canmore of the Bow Valley,  The Canadian Rockies.  The weather is perfect, but it hasn’t always been like this, last week they got 9 feet of snow (or at least that’s what I heard).  But despite the rough and drawn out winters, the valley is truly one of the WORLDS most beautiful places.  A bit like the Jackson Hole of Canada.  Imagine 1 bedroom condos selling for half a million dollars, and plain Bagels with cream cheese costing five hard earned clams.  But it’s a price to pay for quality of life, they aren’t just selling you hot water and a tea bag for $3.00 they are selling you the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you drink that cup of tea surrounded by the rugged peaks.  They are selling you the feeling of “cool”.  Some call it the “dream”.  Everyone here looks like a movie star, everyone wears sunglasses (whether it’s sunny or not) and everyone (and I do mean everyone) carries a locking biner on their coffee mugs which is clipped to their Deuter backpacks.  I think they must give one to you as you enter the city, it’s mandatory, like the cedar post and beam construction on all houses.  But all joking aside, it is cool, and I feel cool, I mean honestly, I haven’t felt this cool since the last time I was here, and the time before that I think I was showing up to my first day of school during the third grade while wearing a single white glove on my right hand.   At 2 foot 4 inches, I never felt so tall walking through the rainbow colored doors.  Seriously though,  I’m pretty sure I saw Barry Blanchard long boarding to the coffee shop this morning. “Hey Bubba” I hailed,  he must not have heard me.

Yesterday I did a day at the Lake, tomorrow likely Ghost RIver, but I’m not here to talk about my climbing objectives, my lack of endurance, or my unrivaled technical savvy, I’m here to talk about my hack job carpentry skills.  I consider myself about a 5.6 carpenter to put it in perspective.  But I am learning everyday and I love it to bits.  Some of my greatest hero’s were and are carpenters, my grandfather(s), Eric Decaria, Andrew Boyd, Tom Wagner, and Jesus Christ to name a few.  There’s just something about Mary.  Creating form from nothing, the scent of cut wood, the look of the grain, it’s completely primal, I think we all feel a deep connection to beautiful hand crafted furniture, picture frames, chopsticks and clogs, but somehow, we’ve lost touch over the years, and money and convenience often comes first, IKEA, THE BRICK, WALLMART.  I’m guilty myself at some point of buying cheap, breakable chip board smothered shit.  IKEA is the McDonalds of our homes.  It looks so nice in the pictures, but for the most part, it’s made from cheap materials, brought to you in mass quantities and sold at rock bottom prices, it does nothing to fuel your soul and there is no great story to tell, other than the time you got lost trying to find a cheap plastic cutting board.  Boring.

So this installment of my page is to spray about my side project, it’s what I do sometimes on rest days (when I’m not working or bolting, or taking photographs) to top up the Sonnie Time Tank.  Some people read, some people garden, some people spend time with kids, I chop up wood and screw it together.  So here is my picnic table I built about 2 weeks ago.  Since this picture it’s been finished properly, routered edges, stain and varnish.  For a hack, I have to say, I am pretty happy with the way this project came out, it was scary at first, because most things I do I botch, and I botch them very well, so this was a surprise to me, to actually make something I was sort of proud of.  I hope this is a first step in a long enjoyable life of crafting things from natural materials.  It’s good to be a beginner.

The great thing about wood is that is has everything to do with rocks for me.  I understand that living in the desert may not have this same connection, but in the North West, the rocks and the trees are one and the same, here is a photo I took of my friend Carl on a V5 of sorts, it was nearly impossible to take a picture of him without capturing a tree in the frame somewhere or another, so I decided to put it in the foreground.

Here’s another example of wood, imagine the lack of character these steps would have if they were made of metal.  Running through the Smoke Bluffs, we scramble on the rocks, and then with barefeet instantly turn around and run down this path, rock and wood are one and the same for me.

So what’s the fucking point of this post?  Not much. Like most of my rubbish, it’s just spray.  But maybe this,  after my silly picnic table project experience, I am filled with a sort of happiness and joy and dare I say it, pride.  I now know what this really feels like, I am reminded that what you get out of life is directly effected by what you put in.  The next time you need something, don’t just go and buy it, without a reason why, without looking into who you are supporting, think if maybe you can build it?  Think of the story you can tell when the next person says, “hey, I like your coffee table” and you say, “thank you, did you know…”

As for that skateboard I mentioned, maybe I’ll try building one instead, you know, for the next time I’m in Canmore and feeling cool.

Just a thought.  Happy living everyone.

  • Jonathan W

    Now THAT is a sweet picnic table. Strong work, and congrats.

  • Mike Sampson

    I remember once reading a quote from Eric Pehota that said something to the effect of: “why the hell would someone pay money for something they could do themselves?”

  • olddude

    You do realize that you are at your best,writing wise,when you dont quite kow the point your trying to get across? Like grabbing smoke.

  • Danny

    Is that white pine?

  • Suradetch

    Picnic table looks great Sonnie. I would love to see the finished product and I definitely think you should make your own skateboard. I’ve made my own and I really enjoyed the process and satisfaction that I got out of making it. When you think about it the process of making things is similar to the process we go through in climbing.

  • so, what’s next on your carpentry tick list? a totally rad raw wood coffee table?

  • chris

    Nice post, made me start the day smiling, although i want to be in the mountains not at work!

  • Steve Traversari

    I built my own skateboard once. It was made of the finest maple 2 by 4 I could find. To it I nailed the metal-four-wheel roller skates complete with the leather starps to the bottom – one at each end of the 3 foot board. I was done with roller-skating. The ride was a bit rough along the concrete sidewalks but I enjoyed every moment. When the nails were new it was tough to make a turn as they held in the skates pretty good. But after a while as the nails loosened up, you could probably bank that baby a good 8 to 10 degrees in both directions. It wasn’t long before I was doing a slalom course. Of course when the nails became too loose, look out! After a while I learned to travel with spare nails and a hammer.

  • Mikey Deez

    Whats the slot in the middle for? Tossin the beer caps through after crackin a nice cold one after a day of craggin?