I woke up thinking about “stuff.” There are monks who make do with four personal objects, one robe, two sandals and one bowl. All else is held in common. “Why the bowl?” I wondered. Why not a stack of bowls at the lamasery? If Brother Bob sleeps in and misses breakfast, fine… one less bowl to wash.
By the time I got up this morning, my list of necessities was quite a bit longer than “robe, sandals, bowl.” It included a pot to cook the rice, for example. For the monastic, a single large pot held in common at the monastery allows for the omission of same from the personal possessions list. Meanwhile, there is an abbot in an office worried about drumming up contributions for replacements of the cooking pot and the wash basin and the very benches and plank tables where the brothers sit to dine. The brothers are sheltered from these mundane concerns.
Which brings me to the chainsaw. I have, in the garage, the shack really, a hovel with ground hog undermined foundations and walls collapsing outward from disuse and disrepair, a shanty that would make PETA proud, given as it is to the unfettered existence of large rodents, a place where a woodchuck really CAN chuck wood… in that tumble-down shelter I have on a shelf a Stihl chainsaw with an eighteen inch bar. Yesterday, I went to the A-Z Rent-all Company and rented the very same tool so I could attack the mulberry trees that are coming up in the hedges, whack back the decades old growth of honeysuckle that is crowding out driveway and lawn.
The economics of the chainsaw are simple. Rather than give it a day of personal attention, a day of small engine maintenance, chain tensioning, sharpening and repair, I rented one that works. The morality, the ethics of the chainsaw are another matter. I need to have a garage sale before the garage collapses. The chainsaw should be in the hands of someone who will care for it and use it. Here at the hermitage there is no one who fits that description. Here we need a chainsaw only once every three or four years, and the intervals between usage make for a maintenance nightmare. Maybe I will donate it to the monastery.