A gray-haired man sits before you at a table. On that table he has arranged four small wooden boxes, each one clearly made by an artisan of great skill. The first bears an angular geometric pattern of light and dark woods. The second has been stained a deep cobalt blue. The third seems to be made of rosewood; the pattern of the wood grain has been carefully preserved. The lid of the fourth has been inlaid with mother-of-pearl and various colors of woods, forming a lifelike barn owl with a moon above it. The man gestures at the boxes and says simply, “choose.” He smiles.
Which box do you open, and why? What do you find within? What happens next?
This writers’ exercise was inspired by the beautiful work of Patrick Parker of Arcane Art, who produces the most lovely wooden artwork and sells it at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.