Saturday, May 06, 2006

Diamond Willow Staff

His and her staffs I crafted for Em and self


Every man has by choice or chance walked with wooden staff in hand. This act may only have lent strength or power. It may have acted as a simple conduit to the nurturing earth and brought a heightening awareness of sound, aroma or stirring of air. It may, though, have been a mystic link to childhood memories or fantasies of "Little John" or a wandering medieval bard. On rare occasion it served as a divining rod to the soul!

Every human spirit is grounded in both heaven and earth, but sees neither clearly. The soul is a wanderer and seeker, restless and eager. The draw of heavenly peace is strong, but the covenant of "free will" presses us fearfully into human obligation and adventure. Is it possible that the words "render unto Caesar" have less to do with worldly goods than of man's obligation to live life on earth to the fullest and use faculties of intelligence and wit to best avail? I grasp my staff in wonder, seeking help and support.

It would be easy to say that today it is enough to let the measured thump of walking stick guide me through a glade of awakening sights and smells. Who can doubt the presence of God in such a green-lush and quivering cathedral? A moment of prayer and thanks? Of course. A lavish bed for a brief nap? Ah, could it be; but I dare not allow moss and vine overgrow my purpose. But I will sit awhile.

Every man should have a stick such as this. It is made of diamond willow from the starkest range of Alaska. The harsh elements restrict its growth to only inches a year and it has no growth rings, its life one continuous striving for survival. The balance of midnight sun and noonday blizzard force twist and scars along each branch. There is nothing about the bush that would appeal to the causal eye. But God will has done the basic work. The practiced hand, guided by instinct or cunning, cuts down a special branch. The ugly, gnarled shaft is buried in the earth for two years to allow the frost to strip off the bark and erode the weaker pith. The nubile staff is then scraped and rubbed with sand and ice. Then the emerging gift is buffed with leather and polished with fleece. As the oil penetrates the pores and pits of the wood it comes alive. A miracle has occurred that is a combination of man's and God's hand.

Consider the result. The outer skin of pale cream is strong enough to support my weight but is soft and warm to the touch. It is a serviceable layer that protects the vulnerable inner cores. In much this way a person protects their "real self" with a layer of education, manners, protocols, facades and "hardened realism" called experience. In several areas, large and small, the dynamic inner fabric shows through. These "pits" are diamond shaped and may be quite deep. The exposed color is rich in hues of red, brown, orcre, rust and scarlet. On my stick there is a very long exposed rift that cuts deep to the core. This rich area of color and softer material might represent the "inner self" of values, beliefs and judgements that are occasionally allowed to show through to the harsh world. Of course, this leads to vulnerability and scarring and erosion of value. Down the center of the shaft is a small, very strong white core. In most sticks this is not visible. On mine, due to the large rift in the inner structure, it shows through plainly. This core is true faith and understanding. I value my stick because it is exposed.

Thus each stick of Diamond Willow can represent an individual. Its growth, development and perfection required hard work and patience. There is a central soul, a surrounding level of self, and an outer layer of persona. In some people only the outer shell is visible. In most, parts of their values and beliefs are visible. One tragedy of life is that the more a person opens up themselves to the world, the more beautiful they become, but more easily harmed.

Whenever you see a person with a Diamond Walking Stick, study it, caress it. Take time to sit down and listen to a story or two. The stick can bond your two souls together.


At 10:23 PM, Blogger Imogen Crest said...

This post was so informative and clear. The walking stick information is extraordinary. I learned a great deal from this writing. Just brilliant.

At 2:00 AM, Blogger Heather Blakey said...

What an amazing piece faucon. Like Imogen I find your information utterly extraordinary. I have a carved stick by the fire place in the front room that I bought in Bali. It has the head of the serpent and has been made for someone taller than me. I must investigate further. What a pleasure it would be to have a walking stick to help keep me grounded.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger sage said...

Your posts are filled with wonder and amazement...this is no exception as I am in awe at the colorful fashion you have related to the heart of many cultures...


At 9:05 AM, Blogger BeetleBug said...

"One tragedy of life is that the more a person opens up themselves to the world, the more beautiful they become, but more easily harmed."

'Risk/Benefits'Analysis would be applied to this conumdrum in the world that lies to the right hand. The lure of the world to the left is that no such choice exists.
To teeter on this edge is excruciating.


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