Ponder the difference - the distance -between competence and mastery. In every field of endeavor, competent practitioners confer "Master" status on a special few, colleagues whose vast experience and diverse body of work sets them apart from the rest. Most of us spend a lifetime honing a particular skill, but we never get close to true mastery.
Walker Weed of Etna, who died last week at age 95, was a recognized Master in many fields: woodworker, furniture designer, outdoorsman. Indeed, for those of us lucky enough to have known him either professionally or as a friend, Walker Weed was a man who had mastered the art of living a full and balanced life.
What made him so special? To get beyond mere competence, Walker taught us to be persistent and determined in reaching a goal. To get beyond failure and disappointment, he taught us to be optimistic – sometimes unreasonably so. And to get beyond the tendency we all have to take ourselves too seriously, he taught us to never lose our curiosity and humility. Then, just to make a point, he would crack that elfish grin and tell a droll joke about one of the infinite silly mistakes he made along the pathways (and waterways) of his long and eventful life.
Cohaereaumus, Walker – we’ll miss you!