Tinkering School

come make amazing things with us

Day 4 - Restful Exhaustion

2014 Session B - SeniorsJoshua RothhaasComment

Wednesday - right in the middle of the intensity of a Tinkering School week, often times just as we reach the climax of our project. And it is exactly this timing that makes Wednesday what it is - not another push, but rather a halt. Wednesday is beach day.

At breakfast, there is more play - we tell lame jokes, learn "Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe" from Daniel. Even the anticipation of beach day changes our perspective.

IMG 5349

IMG 5335

Footprints in the sand, left behind as we set off in search of a place to claim as our own. We've left the confinement of the barn for the outdoors, traded the dining room for open stretches of sand. We have a chance to exhale.

IMG 5362

IMG 5369

Shelters of wood fill the beach - works of art people have added to over time, functional structures that protect the inhabitants from the wind, but always temporary. Like our projects at Tinkering School, which we disassemble at the end of week, impermanent.

IMG 5373

We remove ourselves from the problem we've focused on - our downhill train, and play for a minute with the remnants of last session's catamaran. We saved one of the four hulls for just this scenario, fit it into the back of a truck, and worked out how to carry it the quarter-mile down the beach. Sometimes, the best way to solve a tricky problem is to stop thinking about it, and play with and explore other problems. Beach day gives us this opportunity.

IMG 5379

IMG 5382

The beauty of playing in the ocean is, as Josh puts it: "If you capsize, it's like going for a swim." Beach day represents the lack of rules, as close to complete freedom as we have the ability to be.

IMG 5416

IMG 5418

IMG 5395

Beach day captures what Tinkering School is about. An open sky, a budding adventure in the background, and sheer love for the art of tinkering, and what comes with it.

IMG 5447

When the sky's the limit, anything is possible. Riding flat on your back on a wooden boat out into the ocean; taking up a surfboard and catching waves; beach day is about being fearless, about pushing the boundaries of possible, about reminding ourselves that we can achieve our goals, that we're here, at tinkering school, doing the impossible.

IMG 5462

IMG 5510

IMG 5521

How do we reach the sky? One foothold at a time, climbing slowly to the top.

IMG 5538

Beach day is about renewal - about rising from the ashes, coming up fresh for the last half of the session. Music, in particular adds to the atmosphere.

IMG 5544

Beach day gives us a chance to grow closer, to strengthen the bond we've formed with our fellow tinkerers. When we don't have tasks in front of us, free from the division of teams. Beach day unites us, reminds us that at heart, we're all tinkerers.

IMG 5563

We get a chance to sleep, too.

IMG 5581

Laughter - a form of renewal.

IMG 5587

IMG 5590

We take a moment to learn from our first trip - to discuss, as happens so naturally at Tinkering School, what we can improve on - it's this attitude that will carry us forward through the next few days.

IMG 5602

Improvements come in the form of logs underneath the hull for easier transport. Ballast is added. And not willing to be defeated, the tinkerers push the boat into the water. At the beach, we are invincible.

IMG 5622

Confidence is high, energy is back. Beaches boost our morale.

IMG 5629

IMG 5641

Tinkerers are risk-takers. We're not afraid to pick up power tools, to wield knifes, to take on the world with our creations. So what's a little water, a few waves? Somehow, our approach to the beach, in the context of being a tinkerer, is different.

IMG 5669

Resetting is important. We come in Sunday morning, fresh. By Tuesday evening, we're exhausted. Wednesday offers that chance - not by stopping, not by doing nothing, but instead by letting ourselves out to different challenges, to directing our energy in a different way, so that when Thursday comes, we can reel ourselves in.

IMG 5714

IMG 5751

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Rachel gazing off into the distance.

IMG 5804

Even for collaborators, beach day provides a much needed change, a chance to get in touch with our inner enthusiasm, a chance to think on all that's occured.

IMG 5944

IMG 5946

Tinkerers are different away from the ranch - we catch rare moments we wouldn't necessarily experience otherwise. We see each other in new lights.

IMG 5976

IMG 5979

IMG 6021

We return home with new perspectives, ready to start anew. Ready to face anything.

IMG 5834

IMG 5924

Beach day is an exercise in contradiction. We stop in order to make more progress. We embrace freedom to achieve more focused control. We take a break in order to challenge ourselves. But, it works. And tomorrow, we will return to the barn; ready to work, renewed, refreshed, and reset. Today was exhausting - but that exhaustion lets us keep going.

Tinkering School is a trademark registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.