Montag, 9. Mai 2016

A tired ride to the smithy

 It is happening again.

It would be a laughing matter if it happened to someone else, but as is, I am not quite sure about it. For I am the one making a dunce of himself again.

You might have seen it coming, and I did, myself. Now it is coming nearer fast. The owners of the smithy nearly begged me to come and forge at their place, and yap, okay, I still feel appreciated, and no harm done. But that smithy is just one step away from being a complete ruin. There are exactly two ways to deal with something like that: Either you decide you want to save it, or you don´t. We had the information -and get this all over again- that the people of the funding club want the smithy to be saved. To achieve even the securing measures necessary to prevent the roof from deteriorating even more, we need at least 20.000 - 50.000 €, to rebuild all of it at least 1.5 million Euro. Period.

To get money, a funding club relies on sponsoring and membership. That much seems to be obvious.

In the half of a year our group is member of the club, we motivated roundabout 25 people to join in. Beforehand, in four years, there were about ten people, and three of them got mobbed out.

We built a forum ( Each Friday, there are so many smiths of different skill levels that our capacity is running out. For me personally, it is hard to get in some forging time, and difficult to pursue the more challenging projects such as artisan blacksmithing, jewellery, and swordsmithing, for all the tutoring I have to do. Don´t get me wrong-it´s great to have so many young guns and rookies wanting to learn the tricks of the trade, and it feels dynamic, and nothing wrong with that. We were the ones to get a TV production about the ironforge, and the best swordsmiths of the planet know about us and some even partake in the process. We had the vision to create a hotbed, to recreate the hot spot of the craft that the ironforge once was in a modern way adequate to the situation.

We looked forward to open up the smithy once a month to the public, as was at the neighbouring industrial museum, and to stage an event including an oldtimer show, demos and workshops and food and drink. WE were the ones who would organize all this, and were enthusiastic about it. There was a decision made in a meeting of all the members to do this.

Enter the rest of the club. To them we are "that group of smiths". We get no support whatsoever for Sundays, in fact, the senior blacksmith came over last Sunday, when we lonely smiths were standing there toodling along (quote) why we were working on the "day of the Lord". Yeah, he might be right. Yeah. But the answer is: "Because we want to put a roof onto that ruin?", to wit, the question mark.
The other senior members just sat there in the sun looking at us as if we were some freak show going on. So no more open Sunday, no more open to the public, no more new potential members.

To make it all even more insane, then, in a recent meeting of the head chairmen, one of the head of board demanded that each new member had to apply formally for membership in an official session of all members, and there had to be an unanimous assent upon the approval of each new member from each of the members already approved. And while I acknowledge that not every freak should be admitted to a sports or, say, re-enactment or hunting or bushcraft club, we are talking about a funding club. So, let´s say there´s a sponsor wanting to contribute to saving the site by joining the club. He wants to contribute, but cannot make a donation. Let´s say it is January. He then has to wait until the middle of the year to join the session of all the members, and even then it would not be necessarily the case that he would be approved. So, the chance to get new members, or even financial potentates, is near zero.

In the very same meeting the second chairman (I already told you that I did not like him much), abdicated. And while I was not at all agreed with him, I have the strong suspicion that he got mobbed out. That is not at all okay. Even if I did not like him, I would have made it work. He might have been scheming to mob me out, but on the other hand, this is wrong.

All things added up, I just have to say, it makes me tired. It just sucks. Again I put a lot of work, time, energy and the visions and passion of my heart into a project that is doomed by the ignorance of some few. We are many, yap, but that does not help any. Ignorance is legion.

Sometimes I get the impression that you do not prosper by prowess and intelligence, but by ignorance, malice and greed. I know this will ultimately lead to the doom of our species, but why the f*** should it? There is no rational reason the dumb, malevolent and ignorant should be the leaders of mankind. But they are.

All these things in mind, I was feeling less than motivated to get to the smithy on Friday, but I still wanted to go. So I saddled my steed early and did what had never failed me, at least not the thing itself: I rode there by bike. I rode through my beloved woods. I tasted the wind in huge swallows. I laughed and danced on a sunray.   
 I rode up and down slopes of dirt and debris, and I heard the singing of the songy birds of spring.
 I looked into the valleys, and I got there by my own devices. And I thus earned the right to stand above the darkness of the dale, and to look down into it, removed from the actual. The trails were tricky and technical, and took their toll on me, and often I struggled. But finally I got onto the hilltop. I might not be at my best at the moment. But still I managed and had fun in the process.
 The woods were greeting me with warmth, and sunlight, and vibrant life greeting a new year, and yeah, now the new year is truly alive... gone are the last shreds of winter.
 Riding down a technical trail with gusto, I came across this reconstruction of an old iron mine deep in the Ennepe valley, which has an ironworking history of nearly a thousand, maybe even some 2000 years. You can´t put an end to this that easily. The grey god shall skulk from the fire and the dragon of poetry. Everywhere there are birds and beasts returning to the forest; the buzzard flies, and hare and wild pig and deer, badger, fox and wolf return to the world of the woods. There is no victory for Mammon-Vrthreach.
 To the smithy I rode with intent. I took the life force from the forest, I sucked it in like fresh air and a warm drink of honey and nine herbs.
 Yeah, the world of humans is ruled by greed and malice and ignorance-but I strive to unbecome human. To become forest. To become law. To become spirit, and twilight.
 Then I arrived at the smithy with a bit more vigour than at the start of my ride :-). I was greeted by Nick, and we had a chat, and while we were talking, we got a visitor...
 What now does it mean if a smith gets visited by a firebug? :-)
The fire is roaring wildly. It is not to be fathomed by the grey. It leaves behind soot, and ash, and cleansed iron. Underneath the scale there is the steel, and sometimes the brighter ore is hiding under the rust. We refuse to admit defeat. We do not surrender. We take no prisoners any more.

And we share the most dangerous armour we can possibly don: The laughter of a smith.

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