Misery makes for the best of times, I just didn’t know it until about 5 years ago. This realization occurred after about the 3rd day of hiking along the Snake Indian River in Jasper National Park. Expecting to see glorious views of the Northern Canadian Rockies, trudging along in a swampy mosquito cloud, trapped in a dense forest was a bit of a letdown. While I was lying in a tent, practicing knots, wondering why we just drove 1500 miles to experience this, my friend Ethan explained that this was some serious type 2 fun. That is, pure misery that when viewed from the future will be remembered as a great time. Amazingly, he was right. We eventually did climb out of the river valley, into the peaks and camped near glaciers and graced with awe inspiring views of a pure rugged country.
I look back at the whole trip now with nothing but positive feelings. Every year after harvest I’m reminded of this because that is what harvest is, 3 straight months of Type 2 Fun.
Winemaking is joined with most craft industries in the current consciousness in beign over romanticized pursuits. One of those things people say they wish they were doing until you actually have to do it. It’s hot, cold, wet, relentless, exhausting, unyielding, nerve racking, body breaking, repetitive, all with no room for error. There are no days off because nature takes none itself. It reminds me of the stories my Mom tells me of the “back to the land” movements of the 60’s and 70’s. It was all fun in theory until her friends that were not raised on farms realized the animals needed attention every single day and what you ate and wore all had to be make by you. Basically it wasn’t just sitting around the fireplace playing guitar with free love for all. It was hard, hard work, all the time.
But the thing is, if you dedicate yourself to the craft and embrace the misery in the work, there is no greater reward. All great crafts are like this. Farming, carpentry, baking, tailoring, working metal and stone, etc. all require great skill and greater patience. And each comes with their unique challenges, physical, mental and environmental. The overcoming of these, which leads to the act of creation is what makes the product special. In this season of giving I have made an effort to give products of craft. They speak more of how you view your loved ones. The sacrifices and attention to detail given to these items allows them to express more, to mean more than mass produced items. Gifts should be personal, thus need to have the personality which inanimate objects only gain through the craft process. So here’s to all the patient creators in this world that make life truly interesting and beautiful. And here’s to Type 2 Fun, in all its forms, for being the basis of all great crafts, experiences, and stories told.