Beautiful wood and steel

I have always loved the feel of smooth wood or cold steel under my hand.  A finely crafted handle of a knife or the stock of a rifle has always had a calming effect upon me.  The knowledge that a skilled artisan dedicated real time working on something I hold in my hand has always made me content to be alive.

Whatever that piece of quality might be;  A rifle, knife, tool or even the railing of a set of stairs.  A local blacksmith made a set of hand rail for the stairwells in the Inn by simply twisting a piece of bar stock.  A neighbor found a straight tree limb and simply removed the bark.  It was rough and unpleasant to look upon until he started working at smoothing that tree limb.  By the time he was finished it was soft and smooth to the touch.  When he added a few coats of oil it took on a sheen that was pleasing to the eye and to touch.  He had taken something from nature and put his mark upon it by finding the beauty within.

Wood has a grain, a feel to it that is lacking in steel.  Steel has an inherent strength.  Brass, bone, horn and even stone can be made almost as beautiful as a woman.  It has been said that a good rifle or good blade is like a good woman: strong, deadly and ready to speak with authority should the need arise.  That is true.  A good rifle or blade has all the curves in all the right places just like a beautiful woman.  But a beautiful woman will always be more pleasant to look upon.

I have never been overly skilled at much past killing and surviving.  I appreciate those who can make things pleasing to both the eye and touch.  That they use nothing more than the sweat of their brow and a bit of imagination always impresses me.  All across this country I see pride in things made by a poor mans hands.  Men who put their heart into anything make things that will last.  No one else might appreciate his work but the artisan does.  That pride is evident in the quality of his work for all to see.

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