Whittling and Weaving

Hiking in the Yosemite high sierra last month gave pause for thought, along with time to sync with the seasons, swim in waterfalls and watch friends construct simple-yet-incredible balancing rock sculptures.We started talking about how to spend a summer afternoon in nature.  "Whittling" was immediately mentioned: whittling time, whittling wood (for a walking stick of course), whittling an idea, or even whittling one's waistline.  It has a beautiful sound.  And it got me reflecting on favorite verbs -- in English only, as a list of melodious Italian or Spanish words would go on forever.Whittle and weave are two of my favorite, complementary verbs.  According to Merriam-Webster:

  • Whittle means "to cut or shape something by or as if by paring it with a knife; to trim or pare down."  It also can mean "to wear oneself or another out with fretting." (I guess I don't like the latter definition so much.)

I also found a fun saying: He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.

  • Weave means "to interlace especially to form a texture, fabric, or design; to produce by elaborately combining elements; to direct (as in the body) in a winding or zigzag course, especially to avoid obstacles."

It comes from Latin for web, also related to networks, which makes perfect sense.  One can weave a story, fabric, weave through time, and weave a wonderful life rich with a network of community, experiences and friends.Whittling is about honing in on what's essential, meaningful and purposeful.  Weaving is about taking those essential parts and blending them together in a tapestry or mosaic or story or journey, such that the sum -- and beauty -- of the threads together is greater than their individual parts.May each of us weave and whittle a better life each day!

UncategorizedApril Rinne