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Mittwoch, 1. Juli 2015

What the term "soul ride" means to me-long overdue solitary ride to the hills

 It is a bit difficult to me at the moment. I had to move out of the smithy again, so no blacksmithing at the moment. I had been betrayed by people I thought were friends and for whom I had done my share of work. In my mountainbike team there is a strong aversion against me, for my opinions are alien to zee aylienz (pun intended), and I still speak my word. Mountainbikers cannot understand that I sympathize with hikers, equestrians and, oh how frivolous, even hunters. Many of them are only interested in "bigger is better" and "progression", in building illegal trails and many of them shit on trail etiquette. There are times when I do not even touch my bike and shun it in disgust. It is just like you feel disgusted by a body part to me, for I have been riding mountainbikes for 29 years now, and before that did exactly the same with a modified BMX bike with gears.

But it´s not in the bike or the sport. It´s in the people. They might all be decent enough, but I simply cannot stand their crazed gibberish, the nervous talk that all is well and all will be well and always has been. There are exceptions, of course, but I cannot stand the superficial focus on a surrogate activity without so much of a single thought spared about what lies behind. Philosophy, ecology, politics, emotions simply are topics left out. Instead one rants about what fork what stunt and whatsitsname bikepark.

I have realized that I have always been an outcast and will always be. It´s a simple fact: I always was happiest with few people around. I could do what I ever could to be accepted, I could work for them, I could create and give them a context, such as a club, a smithing community, a promotion club, in the long run I am always mobbed out. Don´t know why this is so. People who must know (psychologists, priests, druids, philosophers) tell me they can´t say why this is so, either. Others say I am "too good" for this world. Excuse me, I am not good. I have a lot of grave shortcomings. And - can anyone be too good, because he´s no bastard?

The answer is, yes. Yes, in a world of bastards, you are too good if you don´t get rid of your neighbour by cunning and shrewdness.

But there is little I can change about that, and I know this full well. So I guess, I will continue to care for my fellow human beings, and, to rekindle my fire, I need an outing from time to time. Then I go for a hike, or sit on a stump, or saddle my steed and ride out to the hills.
 And this I did. Oh, no spectacular stunts. Not that technical a trail. To most of those rookie riders the trails I rode would have been outright boring. But there was silence, and solitude, and the cry of the buzzard, the rustle of the wind and the vista that showed me I was far away from the city. This is a historical site and the top of the world of my hometown.
 In the late medieval age and early modernity, there was the "iron trading road" running along those hills, the Hellweg, an important trade route in those times. There are still many remnants, old buildings, rests of old tax points and the like. I imagined those two-wheeled carts slowly working through the woods. I saw the pictures of those truckers of these days after a long day of 25 km of wheeling along through dense and murky woods finally coming in to a wayside inn and feasting on what was available, meeting each other, trading wares and stories and one or the other song. I imagined wanderers and pilgrims on the way, keeping closely together in fear of robbers and rovers and the terrors that had no name and many. And in the evening, by the fireside in the inn, they told stories of werewolves and robbers and white women, of the mannekens grisebaort (greybearded little-men) and dwarves and druds and witches. Of course, they were too brave to believe those stories... but how come they were so glad to sit beside the fire with an ale and their tobacco pipe near? The iron and coal they brought from the Siegerland as far as Cologne found its way to many a smithy in the vicinity, and in Hagen and Breckerfeld the bladesmiths knew how to process it to a most excellent steel that became legendary throughout Europe. Still one can see a trace of the mastery of these smiths when looking at the works of their offspring in Zlatoust and St. Petersburg. In those ancient days the Brakkersfelders Knopmetz had a similar nimbus to those works of art Zlatoust now produces and was far renowned throughout the world.

But it was not just iron that those ancient truckers transported. Corn and meal, ale and wine, cloth and works of art, sugar, salt and coffee, cocoa and spices they transported over these hills.

I imagine sometimes one or the other did halt his wagon, and standing where I was, enjoyed a moment of rest while looking down into the valley.
 On I followed the winding trail, down into the valley, and after a slightly technical session came to a most ancient friend of mine: The priorlinde, a famed and ancient linden tree in the valley.
 By storm and lightning it had been ravaged, and yet it stands still strong after more than thousand years, silently, slowly swaying in the breeze of spring and summer, in the thunderstorms and autumn´s chill winds; in the frost of winter and in the coming spring again, year after year of slowly growing, sprouting, where limbs were severed, regenerating, reverberating the silent thrum of the dark soil below.
 It grew around the mesh and poles of iron. It grew through rock and stone and soil.
 Into the light it grows, into the green and golden sky, upwards and upwards with the ferocity of stone-hard roots and branch and stem dancing lightly.

 It keeps a light within its crown, a secret therein.

 I touched the bark and silently smiled.

None of my fellow mountainbike riders would understand this, and I am glad for it. They will never know the secret.

 On I rode to the site of one of the sustainability centres in the vicinity. There is this hall of willow trees, another special place. Yes, it is man-made, and one could argue about the necessity, but the trees prosper no less for all the steel that binds them.
 The trees form a golden spiral, and the atmosphere is overwhelmingly serene.
 It is as if you are contained within this place.
 Peace filled my heart, and I lay down to rest and meditated a good hour away.

I drank deep from the cauldron of the rich, green fire again. And, again, as I remounted my bike, I felt as if resurrected by creation. Oh, no, it´s nothing special.

It was just a solitary ride to the hills. Without gibberish.;-)


  1. Good thoughts, as always. Mediocre minds always resist those who rises above the status quo. Have you read the sayings of Nicolás Gómez Dávila? I think you would like them. I know he has been translated into German.

  2. Thanks for the compliments-as usual;-)-and thanks for the hint... I prefer to read originals... does he write in Spanish?

  3. Did some research already... it sounds a bit controversial, but inspiring no less. I must admit that I am a bit prejudiced, but this is an even better reason to read his works. While I am totally agreed that we live in a world of grave political AND theological errors, I can not much relate to the sovereignity of an anthropomorphic God... but I have not read him yet, so this is a prejudice. Anyway, a BIG thanks to you for again inspiring me!

  4. Many who don't subscribe to his Catholic worldview, nevertheless appreciate his wisdom. Here's a small sampling. Notice the range of topics he covers....

    Civilization is a poorly fortified encampment in the midst of rebellious tribes.

    Ritual is an instrument of the sacred. Every innovation is a profanation.

    The modern tragedy is not the tragedy of reason defeated but of reason triumphant.

    Nothing multiplies the number of fools so much as the example of celebrities.

    Politics is the pastime of empty souls.

    To have a dialog with those who do not share our basic premises is nothing more than a stupid way to kill time.

    A cultivated soul is one where the din of the living does not drown out the music of the dead.

    The enemies of myth are not the friends of reality but of triviality.

    The modern soul is a lunar landscape.

    1. Must.Get.Me.A.BOOKSTORE;-)!!!

      It is interesting, however, that all I could find by frantic browsing emphasizes his reactionary bias... seems to me he might be not that reactionary a writer. In fact, this seems to indicate that all the secondary sources I could find were biased.

      This is interesting in that you would call THIS behaviour reactionary. It´s a funny world we live in... and he seems to be a "dangerous" author.

      So I daresay I MUST read him soon. Thanks!

  5. He writes about the baggage of the label "reactionary." He understood this, yet still chose to call himself an "authentic reactionary." I like the term when understood as he meant it. He was reacting to all of the nonsense in the world. "Dangerous" is a good description, and why I like him.


Now go on, discuss and rant and push my ego;-). As long as it´s a respectful message, every comment is welcome!

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