We are looking for a gift. The Bohemian and I want to find something that can express our gratitude to someone that has helped us tremendously.

I’m sensing wood. Some kind of bowl, maybe. Hand-carved. So I follow the feeling.


Soon, there we are. In the distance, Kalalea mountain stands at sentry. At the base of this mountain lies the garden oasis where the Bohemian and I were married. Not far from the river crossing, lives the Garden Caretaker who tends this tucked-away paradise. And we are in his living room, his collection of carved wood work splayed before us.

There was this inkling of a recollection. Something about him mentioning that he carved wood. But that was nearly a year ago. Was I dreaming it? When I call to ask him, he tries to send me to the museum. Yes, he carves wood and stone, but he hasn’t been doing much lately. He doesn’t sell his work.

I tell him that the Bohemian and I are looking for a special gift, something that can show our appreciation. We would love something that he has made.

It has been his hands that shaped the foliage that held our wedding vows. It feels as though any art from him reflects the heart of our connection. He is listening.

Well, okay. I’ve got a few bowls. Come on over.

2013-09-04_close curves

What we find is his humble presentation of incredible works of art. The Bohemian and I, we’ve been to the local stores. We’ve seen what’s for sale to the masses. We have seen nothing that compares to the Garden Caretaker’s work.

We spend hours in his living room, talking and listening to his stories. We pass huge pieces of carved wood between us. Koa, Monkeypod, Milo. Our hands run over smoothed curves, each piece unique and solid.

It’s a show and tell. Stringed instruments come out of cases. A guitar made by a man just down the road. A harp gifted from a man from Europe. The Garden Caretaker hands it to the Bohemian and he plucks the harp strings like he’s been raised in the angel choir. I listen to the notes while my finger tips trace wood grains.

2013-09-04_bowls close

“I just let the wood tell me.” This is what the Garden Caretaker says.

“I don’t know what it’s going to be. I just go with what it tells me. And it tells you.”

I reflect on how my instincts led me to that living room. An inkling of an idea that whispered in the background. Now, I was surrounded by wood carvings, listening to the tinkling of a harp, holding a ten-pound, double-sided platter in my hand.

So often we don’t know where our path is leading. We may have a general idea, but the details are yet to be revealed. One moment into the next, things begin to take shape.

“And I tell people, ‘there’s no mistake.’ You don’t ever make a mistake.”

The Garden Caretaker is talking about wood carving.

“It’s meant to be like that. You just work with that. You let the wood show you. And it will show you.”

By late afternoon the harp’s been put away, many stories have been shared, and the Garden Caretaker lets us choose a piece that speaks to us. The Bohemian and I both know the one. And though he doesn’t usually sell his work, he accepts our offering and lets us take it home.


Over the course of the next days, we absolutely fall in love with this curving piece of Monkeypod.  We swoon at the varied hues, oiling the blacks and golds.

2013-09-04_tray side

All of our love makes it that much more enjoyable to be able to gift it along, hoping that our friend will feel the magic too.

There’s solid wisdom here from the man whose hands carved this masterpiece.

Open to being shown the way.
There are no mistakes.
Listen. You’ll be guided.

Then share it.

2013-09-04_bowl overview

4 thoughts on “Follow the Grain

    1. I think I know what you mean. The 50’s did seem to have a love affair with the Pacific…”Blue Hawaii” and Elvis, surfing, and all the rest. I think it influenced the decor of the time, too.
      In comparison to other hardwoods, like Koa, Monkeypod can be deemed ‘inferior’, but no matter for us. We thought this piece was exquisite.


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