There is a steely grey clatter as I place my laptop on the end of our kitchen table to sit down and work. The power cord scrawls across the table top like an albino snake creating a tripping hazard as it slithers towards the power point. This is not the only potential danger in the kitchen at the moment, there is an open packet of rosemary and thyme potato chips beckoning me from the other end of the table but the power cord has successfully cordoned them off … for now.
I could work somewhere else. I could actually do this at work, I am often reminded by family who are once again sliding and balancing piles of papers in order to create enough space to set the table for dinner. I could, I know - but I like this table. There is an outline burnt into the wooden top just next to the computer that looks like a little crown. It is the unmistakable shape of a shearing comb - an indelible tattoo from the table’s rural past. I like this jagged burn mark, I like the scuffs, I like the worm holes, I like the history. I like working at this table.
As time passes I am increasingly drawn to the beauty of rusticity. I am not sure whether it is age directing me towards the simpler things in life or whether the casual and charming imperfection of modest things truly possesses an abiding and timeless beauty.
The time ravaged patina of a well used, utilitarian wooden surface describes the simple yet noble nature of human endeavour. The ragged scratches, the knocks and dents, the well-worn grain all evoke the lives of others who have lived and laboured before us. The life stories embedded in those markings are familiar and enduring. They are beautiful.
This magnificent nineteenth century counter is the embodiment of rustic beauty. It’s chipped and worn faux-grained painted finish recalls it’s life in a French village hardware store. The counter top is worn back to the wood where over the years hardware purchases would have been passed to and fro across the surface. It brings to mind images of bundles of nails weighed, wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string. Household projects carefully planned and executed. It exudes a unique history and undeniable character and warmth. In this modern, peripatetic world where people are too busy to pause for meaning it is a delight to find a sense of continuum in the time-worn texture and rugged patina of an old wooden table or counter top and as you lift your cup to find the watery coffee stain beneath, you realise that you too are adding your own chapter to this continuing and treasured story.