Carving

 Our circle of smör knivars (butter knives)

I spent this past Saturday
in a circle of redwoods with a circle of women
learning how to carve.

The class was titled:
Wood and Knife and Hands

It was truly a wonderful day, taught by Stargazer Li.

Carving is a meditative practice.
You have to be fully present, in your body and aware of your hands at all times.
For carving hard wood
with these special knives
requires all of your senses and being in the moment.

It was humbling to begin to learn this skill
that for thousands upon thousands of years was elemental for life and survival
as well as means for creating beautiful things
.

Stories were told. Memories were stirred.
And fundamental realizations of how these skills of honoring, giving thanks,
focusing awareness and working with our knives,
our wood and our hands could teach us everything you need to know
about living a connected life.

There was a deep sense of tapping into the lineage of people
who came before us who would spend a day just like we did,
in conversation and creation, soaking up the beauty of a Fall day.

I wondered about how the shift from carving
with stone and flint to this metal forged in flame,
must have radically changed the world.
And how, in a way, that paradigm shift was but a stepping stone
to where we find ourselves now
in this age of instantaneous gratification and mechanization
and loss of human skills.

For it is a whole new experience to slow down
and whittle away at a block of wood with a metal knife
to make a wooden knife, that is unique and unlike any other.

*****
Metal in my hand
slow movements, steady and sure
beauty emerges

 

 My knife and shavings from the day in the heart-space of my labyrinth