BEN: He always said “the trade”. As if there were only the one. He didn’t even call it masonry. Just called it the work. Called it the trade. Does call it. Does call it.
He was a journeyman mason for eighty odd years. Journeyman comes from the word for a day, and a journey was originally a day’s travel. He began to contract for himself before my father married and he and my father were in business together for thirty years and technically they are yet. But the rule of the journeyman is his rule even now and he has always quit at quitting time no matter where he was on the job. The wisdom of the journeyman is to work one day at a time and he always said that any job even if it took years was made up out of a day’s work. Nothing more. Nothing less. That was hard for me to learn. I always wanted to be finished. In the concept of a day’s work is rhythm and pace and wholeness. And truth and justice and peace of mind. You’re smiling. I smile. But very often now the stones come to hand for me as they do for him. I don’t think or select. I build. So I begin to live in the world. Nothing is ever finally arrived at. The journeyman becomes a master when he masters the journeyman’s trade. He becomes a master when he ceases to wish to be one.
– Cormac McCarthy, from his play, The Stonemason
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