This is an opinion column.
I am a woodworker. Actually, I am not a professional woodworker but a hobbyist. I enjoy building many different things, but lately my projects have been mostly B & B. No, that is not Bed & Breakfast but benches & birdhouses.
Doing woodwork is not anything new for me, but the stay-at-home Coronavirus days helped me to rediscover my passion for building things. I have never mastered the art of doing nothing, so when I had nowhere to speak, sing, or do humor, I found something else to do. One of those things was woodworking.
I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I first began building things, but I was still a child. Fortunately for me, my dad owned a business where he sold lumber and building supplies. Unfortunately for Dad, he had a boy who liked to use his material to build things. In order to keep me from using wood that someone might buy (and pay actual money for it), Dad gave me the bad pieces and all the shipping pallets I wanted. I was building things out of pallet wood long before it became popular. Dad even gave me some huge-wooden crates that fill-line tiles came in. My friend Ken Smith and I used those crates to build ourselves a camp house, down by the creek. We even spent a few nights in that thing.
During those childhood days, I built my first birdhouse. Quite frankly, I can’t remember if I used new wood or scraps, but I do remember what I used for the bottom. One of the many things that Dad sold was glass. At an early age, he taught me the art of scoring and snapping a piece of glass, without breaking it into a dozen pieces. For some unknown reason, I had the brilliant idea of cutting a piece of glass to use for the bottom of a birdhouse. You’ve probably heard of the “glass ceiling.” Well, now you’ve heard of the glass floor too! After I completed my glass-floored birdhouse, I made a surprising discovery. A house with a clear floor is not for the birds. They refused to build on it. They probably wondered what dummy had built a house but forgot to put in the floor.
I gained a better understanding of how those birds must have felt, when we visited the Grand Canyon a few years ago. The West-Rim has a skywalk. The skywalk is a ten-foot-wide, horseshoe-shaped bridge, that extends 70-feet past the edge of the canyon wall. From there you have amazing views of the canyon, even one that is straight down. That is because the floor of the bridge, much like the floor of my birdhouse, is clear. One guest who walked out with us, became hysterical when she looked down. She fell to the floor and froze in a state of panic. I handled things a bit better than she, but I’ll have to admit, I was a wee-bit unnerved as I stared at the canyon floor some 4,000-feet directly below my feet.
Those birds may not have been smart enough to know there was a piece of clear glass in the bottom of my birdhouse, but they were smart enough to know they couldn’t build a house on thin air. Jesus once taught that it is not wise for us to build a house on sand, or in other words, on a weak foundation. He was not necessary speaking about brick-and-mortar structures, but about our lives. We can learn much from his message, and from the bird’s example.
Bill King is an author, musician and native of Rainsville. Visit brobillybob.com for more.