The Master Thatcher

Monday April 25, 2022

‘Time in Nature’ is cited as a regular source of comfort and refreshment for most of us. Most often, I prefer to share a walk with someone else. We don’t need to talk but it’s nice to experience the peace of Nature with another soul.

At other times, I must be alone.

Last week, I craved some peace, solitude, and quiet (externally – I’ve never learned how to turn off the noise in my head.) Off I went to a National Trust garden called, “Kingston Lacy,” forgetting it was the Easter Holidays and that it would be anything other than quiet.

With quiet off the menu, I resigned myself to keeping a distance from the others enjoying the parkland. I found an isolated bench and discovered I was in earshot of a sublime storyteller. A Master Thatcher was rebuilding one of the shelters around the Estate, and many passers-by found him fascinating to watch. Often, they would ask questions. Every question would draw on a fountain of knowledge and experience woven into anecdotes that kept them engaged and enthralled.

I thought this a strange combination. He was a free-spirit who enjoyed working with his hands, and, surely, in isolation most of the time. Yet, whenever the opportunity arose, his interpersonal skills were superlative.

When I finally broke my own silence, I shared with him how wonderfully engaging he was and how he could have a great video channel telling his stories. He confided in me that most of the conversations came down to one of the same 15 questions he’d been asked in 25 years of thatching. The answers had been rehearsed and refined so many times that they now flowed.

I pointed out to him that he poured his passion into his answers – which is what added panache to his storytelling. I think he was pleased with this recognition of his mastery.

I left him feeling wistful myself. Here was an artisan who had found tranquillity in manual work. He radiated health and happiness. What a joy to find a profession that fits one’s character, skills, and nature.

My lesson was that storytellers engage! Am I really that interested in thatching? Yes and no! Like a teacher at school who transformed our interest in a subject because of their passion, my Master Thatcher had make thatching fascinating.

Thus, I wonder what your best stories are and if you could say that your own profession comes down to 15 questions!

A Moodscope member.

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