I’ve noticed a phenomenon – especially in carpentry, but appears in other settings too – where I will need a specific piece of wood at a certain (random) length as part of a build. And then I poke around for two seconds in the garage or basement, and I end up finding a piece that is exactly the right size, and doesn’t even need to be cut. Often as not, it’s not only the correct length, but it may also be the correct width on top of that.

How does this happen? It’s a mystery to me still, one which I warmly welcome when it occurs. As a sign of… something. It doesn’t matter what. A sign of probably having done a lot of past jobs, and materials, etc. getting built up into a backlog. But I tend to think of it as something more.

I remember first voicing this observation out loud when I was doing some WWOOFing in Greece. The guy I was staying with, who was British, upon hearing what I’d observed stated, “Your whole life can be like that…” Meaning, I guess, that you need something, and have the solution to that need near to hand.

It’s funny because when it happens it seems almost magical or mystical, but its results are intensely practical and of the moment.

Reminds me also of a theory in anthropology, that hunter-gatherers were the “original affluent society.” Wikipedia:

“Sahlins observes that affluence is the satisfaction of wants, “which may be ‘easily satisfied’ either by producing much or desiring little.”[1] Given a culture characterized by limited wants, Sahlins argued that hunter-gatherers were able to live ‘affluently’ through the relatively easy satisfaction of their material needs.”

Anyway, it’s a nice place to be in where finding a pre-cut piece of wood of exactly the right size can make your day. I’d call that affluence for sure.