July 6, 2020

True Healing

• By John F. Chisholm •

True healing doesn’t come when the stitches are pulled or scabs drop off.  It’s more complicated than that.  I can prove it.

Generally, just walking into my garage gives me a boost.  It’s a trick I use if my spirits are sagging.  How can you be down with the world crying out for modification and all the tools right there to do it?  They hang on the walls awaiting the call to duty.  The pressure of work doesn’t bother the air compressor.  I strive to follow its example.  The lift sits quiescent while the hoists dangle, link by link in the expectant shadows.  The air is filled with the smells of grease, paint and solvents mixing with the scent of sawdust and, in the fall or winter, the hint of wood smoke.

My fingers twitch at the scene, my tools calling to their own, the irremovable grime in the grain of my palms.

Cool in the summer and warm in the winter, I actually have to guard against the building’s seductive guiles if there’s more urgent work to be done elsewhere.

Alas!  Of late the interior has become even more crowded.  Dusty even.  Projects are lined up, awaiting the end of that stop-work order imposed by rotator cuff surgery.  (Curse the day I ever agreed to it.)  This past weekend I said to hell with that.  The rain made the dry and warm garage space too attractive to ignore.

Using jacks, blocking and left handed maneuverings, I lifted the new-to-me auxiliary fuel tank into its spot on the underside of my Land Rover.  (That tank has been taking up floor space for the last three months.)  The first time up, the arrangement was temporary.  I had to make the braces, brackets and fittings which hold it in place.  Of course they had to be designed, measured, drilled, folded, welded, primed and painted prior to installation.  That meant the tank, itself, was actually lifted into place twice.

The second time was for bolting it there.

One handed, all that was more of a trick than it sounds.  You don’t believe me?  Try starting a nut using only your left hand.  Don’t forget the washers.

After that came the plumbing (the fuel lines, themselves), the switching (for choice between the two tanks) and the wiring (so that the fuel gauge reads the level of the tank being drawn down).  In addition, certain existing wiring had to be relocated for the project.  The fuel lines ― which are copper ― had to soldered.  Before that, the ends had to be modified for proper mating with the vehicle’s British Standard fittings.  (Thankfully, copper is malleable.)

Everything considered, the effort took all weekend.

It would have gone faster with two hands.  There’s no doubt about that.

Never mind.  It was worth it.  Three months of inactivity are over.  The dust is off my tools.  Hallelujah!  My hands are, again, in a comfortable state of disrepair; the nails cracked and with stubborn stains marring the cuticles.

Best of all, that feeling of accomplishment, missing from my life while I worried about my shoulder, has returned.

It’s about time.

Now there’s true healing.