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Building a Frame Saw
Forging a Copper Kettle
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Forging and Fletching a Bodkin
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Painted in Light

Rarely does the reach of man extend out into the untapped vastness of the universe, to the soundless depths of the ocean, or there beneath the land that we call home. Light fails and where the sight would guide us, only the lure of mystery and the call of the unknown serve as our guide. To many, the weight of the world pressing down upon them and the closing walls are the seed of nightmare. Yet for thousands of years, countless passages have wormed their ways in the hidden depths of the earth. In the early years of time they were created, sculpted, pushed and pulled just so, until what we can remember was left behind. So little travelled, delving into the cavernous depths of the mountains, beneath the labyrinth of roots that hold life to the forests, abandoned paths of rivers worn in their course, in a word, relics of that which we can no longer fathom beckons us to them like a siren's chilling call.

In this generation, there are precious few places that one can travel which have never been travelled before. Places that have never been explored, whose secrets remain hidden even after the passage of ten thousand generations. To many, the thrill of adventure is curiously- or perhaps depressingly- absent. However, to those who have been taken by a singularly unique and powerful sensation, the possibilities abound. There are more opportunities around every corner of the world than could be taken in a lifetime. In a dozen lifetimes. All that separates us from them is the willingness to venture into a place where the comforts of familiarity are behind us and only the unknown wilds remain.

Buried beneath the mountains lie countless tunnels and passages hewn by the Hand of time and the breath of nature. Earlier this year, in absence of my ability to pursue my love of the mountains to the north, we turned to another muse.  How often it is that we fail to see what is around us, the beauty of the world as it rests in its so fragile state, and even rarer still to what lies below.Or rather, between.

Incredible worlds exist beneath our feet that no eye can ever see, unimaginable in character and unfathomable in beauty. But beside the countless lands we cannot visit there are precious few which, to man, will still remain invisible. Twisting sculptures of rock, claddings of minerals deposited by the steady drip of water, shreds of subterranean life which cling to the surfaces like glittering veins of gold. Of these, there are many recounts, of which I have added one of my own in the previous excursion into the underworld.

This trip, however, brought about a different reflection of the humble caverns. Never in their lifetimes will they see the light of the natural world, for it is defining of their nature. Only by the whims of humanity can these shadowed walls be seen, through the flickering light of candles cradled in the hands of our forebears, the ethereal, pale light of the modern Age, or in this instance, something quite different altogether.

Only in the deep places of the world when all lights have been put out does the weight of our size and the frailty of our age press down. To some, such a revelation might come on the shifting tides that separate life from death. Here, only life could bring it about.

Painted in light, frozen in time, our coming was but a blink in the life of the world. Never again would our footprints be crisp or our breath held in a silver white nimbus. Never again would light pierce that absolute darkness in such a way as to form a living beast all its own.

Upon a canvass of black, the only to which such a creature can survive, something mesmerizing happened. That which was hidden became known, and that which was known faded away in the wake of infinite undiscovery.

Purple, blue, green, yellow, colour in its purest form untainted by the radiance of the sun each woven together to form phantasmagorical illusion.

As quickly as our time in the passage of the earthen splendour had come, it too was at an end. Countless generations of our kin have come and gone without our presence, and as many more will pass without a trace, as it was ever meant to be. And there in the darkness lie the spirits of the dark, presiding over the darkness of a world unseen.

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