The morning we went for the walking stick the colours were brighter than usual, like God had put the world on a rinse cycle over night. We walked up to the forest, the dog bouncing along next to us, wagging his golden tail like it might help propel him along. It wasn't a weekend but a Tuesday, a day when we should have been hard at work. But outside was brilliant and how can you stay inside when the Lord gives you a day like that? I knew just the place to get a stick, a place where the trees naturally coppiced themselves and a straight stick the right size would be simple to find. The cloth bag that slapped into my side had a hack-saw inside and as we climbed there was ice in the soil despite the sunshine and heat. The first one we tried just came away without effort, too rotten to be any good, the second was firm. After a shifty look left and right out came the saw, it was down in thirty seconds or less. The off came the top and we had our own "Gandalf staff." That afternoon we took turns with the pen-knife to whittle away the bark, sand the top, trim the base. After drying for a week it was varnished. A perfect walking stick, a perfect gift made with love.