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Donnerstag, 8. Juni 2017

Adventure and magic and the joy of knifemaking from foraged steel.

 Where to begin? How to write about something that is not commonly accepted? What is adventure and magic in the first...? I went on a bimble yesterday... and this beetle occured to me.
Why did I say that? Did the blossoms and flowers also occur to me? Did they happen to be along my path?
No, my stroll was  a leisurely one. It was nothing special, really. Just a short venture around the hills behind my home.
Did I just say "nothing special"? Yes, we tend to forget that: The woods ARE special. Not only are they the place where wild animals and plants live, where we can find peace and solitude. But since the dawn of time it was there that the fairy tale and the adventure took place. In courtly romance of the medieval ages, it was almost a ritual of investition into chivalry, and one of the most enigmatic aspects of knighthood was part of the "aventiure".
What now, you ask, is this "aventiure"? Is it adventure? And what IS adventure?
Medieval High German "aventiure" as well as the modern word "adventure" derive from Latin "ad venire", that which comes (to one). It is what happens to one, what occurs to you. It is the Holy Grail that "happens" to Parzival in the book of Wolfram von Eschenbach. It is the sword in the stone that "happens" to Arthur and makes him king.
Thus I wandered on, waiting what would happen to me. You need a special mindset for something like that. You have to be open and relaxed. If you tense up and wlk around looking for wonders, chance is, nothing will happen.
...because then you will not be able to see the wonders beside the trail, which are way more simple. Oh, maybe the crags will not open to let you inside, into the dwarven kingdom of yore. But elderflower blossom is a wonder that can be easily reproduced. It is the base level of wondering. You have to be open to see this jewel of beauty still to be able to see what is on the next "plane" of wondering...

Yes, on I went, and did I find adventure on this walk that was not special? Did something happen to me?

...
...
...
Spot the deer....
...
Or the ladybug...
Take home some ground ivy for tea and syrup and spice for stews...


I found some wild garlic along the way... and in the trail I spotted some steel. Now the trails are made from crap. They are literally made from junk steel, and a lot of it is... well, junk steel for my application. But over the years I have developed a feeling for the steel. It is very hard to describe. Of course I do sound tests, spark analysis and all that stuff, but more often than not I just feel the steel. I know I am sounding a bit esoteric now, but that is due to the fact that what I am saying IS esoteric, or better yet, esotelic (from Greek: Telos, arrow, missile). Meaning it is directed to my inner self, not aimed at you. The steel happens to me because I allow it to happen.

Also this squirrel happened to meet up with me...

Yes, and I wandered on. On through woods that grew ever so much more murky.


And I contemplated: Look at this knife. I made it recently from foraged steel I found along this exact trail. I have a truckload of spring steel, silver steel, ball bearing and tool steel at my disposal. I make other people´s knives from that, and for other people that´s just fine. Few people could understand why I "need another knife". Of course, the answer is, I do not "need" another knife. I have many of them. Most of those I have made recently, however, are more than just that, and I do not "need" them, but I need to make them.
There is more to that than just the function, and these knives have a soul.

And when I sit down in the woods and sip my tea, I contemplate the mirror image of trees, and the mirror image of squirrels and roe deer bucks and wild garlic and elderflower blossom and ladybugs and ground ivy and beetles and all the wonders I have met by the roadside. It is magic, a magic that is so subtle that common people can´t see it anymore. It is fairy tales that ordinary peoples cannot hear anymore, for they are whispered in the wind, and the breeze is light in the treetops. It is the sound of silence and the thrumming of the steel in the roaring forge. And only by listening to all these fairy tales that are so commonplace that common people cannot even listen to them anymore can you tell the rebar from the Wootz ingot or lathe chisel. They are lying in the ground, all alike, covered with thick flakes of dirt and rust, lying there for decades or even centuries, silently rotting, until by chance they have happened to me.

No, I do not "need" another knife. But I need to make them, for each and every one of them is an exercise. It is an exercise in wondering, in listening to the sublime voice of the other world, of speaking the other world´s words in a fairy tale made steel. Noone believes in fairy tales anymore, but it is hard not to believe in the razor-sharp edge of a knife. A fairy tale of steel makes the Baba Yaga more plausible. No, it is not altogether a sweet tale of roses with a happy end. It is a violent song that is sung out of the earth, an earth that is writhing under the chains of pollution and waste. It is a silent menace, and a revenge for all the life that cannot be lived anymore, of all the fairy tales killed and all the wonders neglected. But it is also the answer, if we are able to listen, the answer to our peace and our agonized asking. The answer is that it is no answer. The answer is that that will happen happens according to a scheme, to a plan, and in that, makes perfect sense. Other things might happen, and their possibility is just as valid as the one that happened. It needs a strong character not to get lost on the way and return to court or even staying in the woods, as Merlin, Myrddin, Lailoken and Suibhne Geilt did.

To be honest, it is a practice of magic. I have long since become something very different. I think along strange lines, I think and believe deep and darkly, just like a tree sinks its roots into the ground. It is a wasteland soil where my roots are writhing, sinking into. But still, this magic prospers. Well do I know where the Hanged One left His eye!

No, those knives are nothing special, not at all. They are made from junk. And the symbol of our times is not the sword, the symbol of chivalry and nobility. It is the tank, the whip and the credit card. But if you listen closely to the violent song of steel, you will laugh aloud at those grey manacles they want to bind you with. And "they" can take the steel from me.

But the song will remain.


1 Kommentar:

  1. Your thoughts on steel are more inspiring than ambitions of reputation and angular perfection and endless knife porn pics.

    It's strange, living in a world where you'd be thought mad or out of touch to talk about such nonsense. I've only been able to see what adventure is after drifting far out of touch with 'reality'. We see it as children, then forget as the world tells us what we are to be about. But there is magic in this grey word also, because it is in all souls and matter. It can't be snuffed out except in the mind.

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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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