Somewhere along our wind chime journey – perhaps in the early days at a small-business seminar – a young guy in a sharp suit told eager attendees: “Every website should have a love story.” I remember it because of the shock! “Should it? And do they? What, every website?”
Anyway, whatever everyone else does, something about it stuck with me as being an interesting – if very slightly off-the-wall – idea. And, actually, there is a love story here, without having to pretend and make one up just to maintain sacrifices to the marketing gods.
This is me, Richard, in my Mountain Song polo-shirt and looking a little too whiskery.
Most of my working life has been spent 'doing' engineering, and when the enthusiasm for it ran-out I took a turn into pastoral-care work; demanding, fulfilling, and thoroughly worthwhile. It’s the kind of activity that needs particular attention to one’s own care too, though, and for me that would include seeing a spiritual director every few weeks.
Usually we would meet at a spirituality centre just east of Melbourne’s CBD. Outdoors, it has a lovely garden in which to walk, or sit, and contemplate.
This is me with Marilyn, my wife. In 2015 we were not yet married, and would use the name ‘beloved’ in reference to one another. Indeed, we still do!
Early in the year we went together to the spirituality centre, and while I met with my director, Marilyn enjoyed the sunshine in the garden, sitting on a bench, by the labyrinth*, under a tree from which hung a wind chime.
As we met up again after an hour, Marilyn pointed the chime out to me. She had been listening to its lovely tones all that time, and wanted me to share in them with her. Which I did, for all of ten seconds… then the engineer’s hat went on! What are they made of? How are they arranged? What are the musical intervals between the notes? Is that one slightly sharp? Why is the striker just there? Why is the sail-thingy that shape? (It’s an occupational hazard, even when it’s no longer your occupation).
The narrative of the next stage is a bit hazy, and it depends on who’s doing the telling. My wife says that I said “I could make one of those!” while she offered a supportive - but non-committal - nod. My account has it that Marilyn said “You could make one of those!” which challenge I readily accepted.
Wherever lies the truth, it was not long before Marilyn’s garden shed had been requisitioned and filled with bits of wood and aluminium tubes. Some of it began to migrate towards the house... then came the varnish and paintbrushes…
*Labyrinth image for reference only - this one is mowed into the grassland behind our home
Since that time we’ve really only looked back to see how blessed we have been, and how Mountain Song Wind Chimes has been a benediction to us, and to others.
We’ve stuck to the premise of custom-made wherever that has been possible, and delight in personalised tuning, windcatchers, and engraving options. Of course we keep a keen eye on the engineering practices too… augmented processes, improved materials, smarter ways to work; all without compromising integrity.
Always a work-in-progress, which is how it should be - and (dare we say it?): Always more art and craft than just science and engineering.