Wednesday, April 1, 2015


On a warm day in early fall, I walked into a metal smithing studio.  I knew nothing.  It was like stepping into a foreign land with strange-sounding tools, implements and labels for procedures with hammers and torches.  Even after six months, I  still approximate the language.

My teacher, my mentor reminds me that muscle memory has a lot to do with her ease in completing a job in mere two minutes, when after 45 minutes of struggle, I ask for help.  That being said, I have learned that I have not completely shed perfectionism.  If the muscles in my hands or fingers fatigue or the solder does not stick to the flux and falls off after 55 tries; I may just give up-frustrated.  I look for fast, speedy results.  This seldom happens in the studio.  Sometimes "gluing" metal pieces together with fire has disastrous results.

"Oh prongs are easy," my teacher said looking at a piece of fossilized coral.  That was weeks ago.  After tedious steps and having to take it apart several times with more filing, sanding and soldering; last night I was able to walk out of the studio with my first pronged piece on my finger.

Walking to my car it was dark.  I had no light.  With trusty Bean boots on my feet, I opted to venture through the muddy edge of driveway to my car.  This seemed the more sensible route rather than swim through the depths of puddles or slip on ice.  Nearing the road, I remembered that delicate shoots of green were popping up in the owner's garden at the corner of the driveway.  Last I knew they were submerged in water.  Despite the cold temperatures the mud still provided a slippery footing.  It was troubling when my left foot splashed in deep water. I was certain I was crushing plant life, someone's prized daffodils or something.  Quickly lifting my foot out of the puddle to save the flowers, I took a sharp turn away from the bed and found myself lying face down in the cold gravelly mud.  Realizing my left foot was stuck in the mud, I tried to release it hearing a sucking noise.  I got up quickly, but only as high as my knees when I was knocked to the ground again.  My left hand (the one with my ring) plunged into the cold, muddy dirt.  My bones could have shattered, but after all that work I was  concerned about my ring.  Once I was upright, I sloshed a few steps into the road and  lifted my left hand closer to my eyes.  It was too dark to see.   For the five minute drippy ride home I realized that there was not much I could do about my situation.   It is likely that my car is muddy.  It is also likely that my ring was crushed with the blow my left hand and wrist took to catch myself.  There is a lesson in everything.  The lesson here is patience, persistence and detachment.  It all became so very clear when I was grounded in the mud.

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