SHAVINGS, © 2007 by Mid Stutsman, won the Best of the Best title for me on 2007-2008, and is published in an anthology.

A golden glow framed the cedar doorposts of a Mediterranean style mansion, where a lone figure stood in the entryway. His shadow played across the marble tiles of the floor. When he entered, the light followed, permeating the room with soft rays.
The interior of the home exuded the warmth of his handiwork. He ran his hand over each piece of furniture crafted to perfection from exotic rosewood and mahogany and accented with gold leaf filigree. Botanical prints, done in low relief, framed the arches of the interior doorways. Pale watercolors, brushed over the surface of the designs, made them stand out even more. The hues of a misty sunrise swirled through terrazzo floors, which gleamed in the light of his presence as he walked through the rooms. Scenes from special moments had been faithfully etched into each tile--a unique reminder of a life graced with love.
Time was not an issue; no expense was spared. There was an elegant simplicity to everything he made, from the recessed bookshelves in the library, to the desk for drawing and writing. Carved wood trim outlined the windows. Exposed timbers highlighted the vaulted ceilings. Every inch of the mansion bore his imprint of excellence. He looked around, pleased with his progress.
There was but one more project he needed to finish for the garden courtyard.
The fragrances of frankincense, myrrh, and spices, blended with the air rising from the aromatic shavings on the floor. Like a cloud of incense, it mingled with the carpenter’s sweat and blood, reminding him of another day, another piece of wood. He willed the image away and continued to work, his skilled hands moving deftly over the teak boards on his bench. He shaped them to exact measurement, breathing life into every stroke. Each curl of wood falling to the floor took with it a whispered prayer and a promise that no one would ever have to go through what he had experienced so very long ago.
He picked up a small box, took out his carving tools, and inscribed a name at the top of the finished arch. When he was done gilding the letters, he hand rubbed the structure to a soft patina and set it against the wall. He gathered his tools, cleaned his workspace. The shavings went into the deep pockets of his work apron.
Outside, the courtyard reflected the elegant theme of the mansion. A teak table and benches graced the stone patio. Large terracotta jars, planted with trees and ornamental grasses, stood in groupings of three around the edge. Beyond them could be heard the lighthearted melody of water splashing into a hidden pool. Fragrant flowers and herbs lined the curved walkway leading to an unfinished opening, where espaliered fruit trees edged a low garden wall on either side.
The carpenter positioned the arch over the entrance, sliding the posts into the bases he had prepared earlier. He patted the sides of the structure and scattered the shavings on the ground beneath. Taking a few steps back, he checked to see if the arch was straight.
“Perfect,” he whispered.
He unrolled the blueprints of my life and looked at the mansion one more time. “It won’t be long…”
“In My Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2 KJV

© Mid Stutsman 2007