Existential Antiquing

It’s been a quiet week here on the farm, as I have continued working on my workshop reorganization and trying to keep up with the mowing, a strangely rewarding task in that it does not require any mental agility or extreme physical exertion, yet leaves us with a sense of supreme accomplishment, despite knowing that the moment we are finished it will start growing again.

It brings to mind the words of philosopher Albert Camus, who compared man’s life to that of the Greek figure Sisyphus, forever condemned to push a boulder up a steep mountain, only to then see it roll back down. As Camus wrote, “The struggle itself is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

And so we struggle, happy in our brief moments of accomplishment, even if just mowing the grass.

But rather being overly existentialistic, as I mowed I was recalling my recent driving trip back to Illinois, during which I gave myself enough time to make a few stops along the way at whatever antiques malls had erected billboards along the interstate.

In my defense I did make a conscious effort to get off the interstate and check out what few single-owner antiques shops I could find along the old state highways. When I did, I found one of three occurrences:  (1.) they were closed, (2.) they had nothing remotely associated with Arts and Crafts, or (3.) they were a delight, especially if the owner was present and the items well organized.

Despite my fleeting fantasies during which I find a Harvey Ellis inlaid music cabinet or a towering Teco buttress floor vase, I enjoyed quickly browsing through the interstate antiques malls, despite the overabundance of fake advertising signs, varnished tools, Jim Beam bottles, rusty lunch boxes, refinished Victrolas, silver-plate flatware and styrofoam goose decoys.

And so while I have not yet found my Craftsman music cabinet, I did come home with nearly half of my Christmas shopping now done.

And with gifts so unique, I won’t have to worry about any of them being duplicates.


Until next Monday,

“Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do” – Jean-Paul Sarte



PS – I did find a family of ducks asking if they could come live in my office. The one in the back says his name is Aflac.