The forge


The hammer drops, strong hands, arms guiding the head to crash against the bright red bar of twisted metal rods, beating the softened iron into the desired shape, each blow sending showers of molten droplets across the earth floor of the building, bouncing off the leather apron of the blacksmith, his focus intense on his work. Beads of sweat run down his arms as the heat of the furnace, the effort of the work, combine. The perspiration of the quest for perfection, the transformation of ore to ingot, ingot to bar, bar to useful tool, each step in the process as critical as the next.

The blade forms, blow by blow, the metal returned to the fire over and over, the skill of the master in the knowledge of forefathers, the experiences of the ages distilled into an instinctive feel for the material, for the fire, for the spirits of place and time. An ancient art, a craft, a mystery to the uninitiated. Magical alchemy transmuting rock into razor sharp cutting edge, a tool, a weapon, the patterned beauty of deadly efficiency. The quenching of the blade raises clouds of steam, wreathing the figure in a sacred mist, turning the forge in a sweatlodge, the home of dreams and visions…

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