The Shed


My grandfather had an old work-shed. It was just down from the vegetable garden, in the corner of the property. I don't think it had ever been painted. Dark black fungi stained the timber planking and the roof was rusty corrugated iron. One of those wonderful wooden windows that you swing out and hold with a broomstick, allowed light to flood into the many dark recesses of the shed. Oh and yes, next to it was the essential water tank. What a great shed it was.

Inside there were benches all around the walls; big solid timber benches, oil and paint stained. On one wall there were shelves with pockets for all the mysterious and wonderful little knickknacks, the nails, screws, bolts, and the like. I can still remember the different copper nails he had for repairing his timber boats. Strange things they were. One of the benches had a number of machine tools driven by leather straps onto a shaft on the roof. The shaft ran through the wall to a single cylinder gas engine that used to drive the 6v generating system and the saw bench. What a wondrous machine; even today I can hear it sounding off - bang bang, put put, splutter splutter.

In winter, my grandfather would escape from my grandmother to the warmth of his man-cave. He would have a fire burning in a five gallon cut-out drum that filled the shed with heat and smoke. That's were we boys would discuss the mysteries of life, men's business - the war, politics, fishing, property......, and yes, even religion. It was a safe-space for blokes.

In my experience, women's business took place in the home. My grandmother's creativity centered on the home, its order and design. She was in charge of where things went, what we ate and when, and even what we talked about. But when we boys headed for the shed, my grandfather took charge of where things went and what we talked about. His creativity came out in the shed. It was there he designed and built things, and particularly where he fixed things. It was his domain, and he was in charge.

One of the more recognizable characteristics of God is his creativity. All around us we see his creative hand, his hand of design. For God, the world is both home and shed, and we, who are created in his image, share his creativity.


[Pumpkin Cottage]