He peered at her from the paint chipped bench, pausing from his task. He raised his weathered hand beckoning her to join him. His almond eyes noticed her slightly hunched shoulders and slow walk of resignation. He was a small man, wirey with skinny arms and scrawny legs. Wrinkles adorned this stranger's face
. Had she been paying attention she would have recognized them as laugh lines, signs of a life well lived.
He patted the seat beside him. "Sit".
So, she sat next to him watching him work on his project. The more she observed him, the more she felt comfortable, at home. He had found bits and pieces of broken wood branches in the back lot. He had scavenged them one day and brought them up to his trailer. There he had transformed them into something else, small little coffee tables.
Rough branch bottoms, cut so they would stand on end. A sanded smooth circular piece of wood attached down here on this jutting out branch and then another one up here on the top. "Hold this please?" He pauses to tap tiny nails to secure them in place. He steps back testing it for balance. Then he takes out his brush and begins to
gently stroke pink paint into swirls and patterns upon the top, lotus blossoms. He stands up and holds it this way and that before holding it out to her to inspect closer.
"I make these for the craft fair. You like?"
Yes, she likes. She is taken back in time to when her grandparents scavenged things from the woods and turned them into delightful works of art to adorn the yard. Her grandfather carefully sanding/nailing and her grandmother loving adding brush strokes of frogs and ladybugs and chipmunks and toadstools. Bright colors to splash about the yard to mix with the garden flowers.
"Listen, I tell you a secret"
He bends down to whisper near her ear.
"You can take any piece of garbage and turn it into something useful and beautiful. You only have to see it as it could be, then make it happen. Always remember that."
Then, he patted her on the back, picked up his crafts, and headed back to his trailer. She straightened her shoulders, smiled to herself, ready to face an unknown future.