Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Forgotten Swordsman

Many years ago I began to take an interest in swords and swordsmanship. In these younger years I enjoyed the myths, legends and tales that surrounded them but as time passed I started to learn far more than I expected. My interest in the sports and films surrounding them began to wain and instead I began to see their evolution, place in history and the wider parallels to human nature as far more interesting.

Each style of blade was like a tool reflecting the point in history, geography, skill with metallurgy and the social/psycological effects of the age. The understanding of tools is a subtle and revealing art, every curve & pattern reflects so much. From the skill and understanding of the maker to the size, ability and location of the user. It is easy to loose sight of the simple things, but it is these that educate and inform us, opening the mind to such perceptions can reveal truths way beyond that of an object.

We seem to live in an age where brands and labels hold sway. The signature and reputation of the craftsman has given way to the blanket corporate label with its promises and assumptions of status and taste. The skill of the users is measured in sports and celebrity. Perhaps by my drive to seek understanding I have consigned myself to the sidelines of mainstream society, but it is through understanding that I find my rewards.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Moonlit March Hare

Its never a good start to the day to receive an e-mail clearly composed to cause problems. Glancing through the twisted words and pointed accusations it was clear that the author was playing games and attempting to bolster his status with those above him in the organisation. I couldn't help but notice the addresses of "superiors" copied in to the e-mail. Initially my annoyance grew and I began to compose a response within my mind before a realisation struck me. The e-mail was founded on incorrect facts & assumptions. I looked his demands for information and after due consideration pressed the delete key before getting on with tasks I needed to undertake for the day.

However, despite my action, such words tend to stay with you during the day and wriggle their way back into the front of the mind. As the sun began to set I decided to take a break and walk the issues away. The sunset was beautiful, deep reds and oranges lit the horizon and the earth still retained its warmth from a clear spring day. Above me in the deepening blue hung the full moon. As I stood taking in the scene the silent white shape of a Barn Owl glided by. The Owl seemed utterly unconcerned by me and passed by me some fifteen to twenty feet away. It was close enough for me to see the sandy markings on the back and wings, and also close enough for the soft feathers to reveal the silence of the wing strokes. Looking to the grasslands I watched the bird across the fields, my eyes were then taken to the shapes on the floor. Boxing and chasing the Brown Hares were at their courtship. The furrows that hid them from view were left well behind as they took to their spring rituals.

With a spring sunset and a full moon my mind was eased. Here there are simple truths and wonderful sights to behold. I lost track of how long I drank in the scene, time seems to be of little matter when the mind and senses are full of what is truly important.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Long Knives

The solitude of a woodland trail has often provided me with the time and space I need to help put things into perspective. Many times I have looked at what is important to me and weighed it up against the demands of others. Within my work I have often seen the politics of the office playing like a macabre theatre, the games played by workers and managers as they further their own careers, jockeying for position or battling to survive.

As I have perhaps explained before within this blog, it is the focus and drive to produced a well crafted design that drives me. I enjoy such simplicity and have changed my life to try to keep myself within such realms. However I am always aware of the games and backdrops that surround me. I also see how they reflect into the wider world into the news and politics.

The desire to control people and resources is understandable and is part of our very evolution though history. I find it is important to learn the lessons of those who have been used, betrayed or overtaken just as much as it is to see the lives of those who are perceived to be successful. As is often the case, when you combine the tales and regard with an open mind, the truth will sit in the middle.

It seems that whatever we do there will be the proverbial long knife in the darkness. Perhaps the skill is not being the one who wields it or avoids it, but to be the one who looks through the darkness to see the truth of what it there.