The tool to do this? An axe.
The complete axe shapes the new handle, and also serves as a model for the tool he's making.
He recalls Ezra Pound, who wrote, "when making an axe handle/the pattern is not far off."
Because he's Gary Snyder, he muses on the moment, concluding: "Pound was an axe...I am an axe, And my son a handle, soon to be shaping again, model and tool, craft of culture, how we go on."
Ezra Pound shaped him, he is shaping his son, his son will--in turn--shape his own children. This is how we craft culture--modeling ourselves to future generations. In doing so, we get a cool axe to make more shit with.
Perhaps the zen-like purity of making an axe handle with your child is a bit clouded by the mini-me narcissism of the poem's central message, but it's nice to think about during the more challenging moments of parenthood.
For instance: on Friday, my five-year-old drew a (remarkably accurate...I think mirrors were involved) likeness of special ladyparts on the living-room wall. In Sharpie.
After the initial shock, then a brief period of inquiry, then an accompanying period of overthink followed by a web search, we removed the offending image together with toothpaste (thanks, Google!).
At one point I looked down at my youngest child, her sweet, sausagey, cherubic fingers busily scrubbing genital graffiti off our wall with Crest Whitening, and thought, "what the fuck?"
It was later I recalled Snyder and Pound and found some comfort.
Also finding comfort in the craft of culture this week is Rick.
Rick ordered up an 11ft, Skip-Frye inspired Glider. Although I didn't have the original item in front of me, I did have a handsome interpretation by Larry Mabile, which I used as a model. Frye to Mabile to my own hands. I am still very much an axe handle, but these masters before me are most certainly axes.
Also an axe is Rick, evidenced here passing on some new-board stoke and first-waxing tips to the next generation of surf shredders, led by his grandson.
This is how we go on.