Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Study the Masters

A strange evening. And yet the strange is no curse, for strange is a blessing upon the earth. The stars whisper secrets few hear in their sleep, and some fast in wakefulness to hear the tingling secrets of silence. And in the silence, I heard :

Look upon a fruiting tree, and see all that might be required of a man, be she male or female, for a man ought craft great works, cultivating doughty arts to culminate in fruition and masterpiece.

And in our birth though we be surrounded by plains, mountains surround us, for of old there were masters who knew their calling into masterpiece, and artists of such stature dwarf even the greatest amongst the young, for we are ever growing in the midst of the shades of taller trees. Yet we ought not let this hinder us, for if we will and with luck and skill, we may in fact grow tall to be elders ourselves.

Still, we are nourished by the leaf-fall fertilizer of the masters, at whose feet gather great stores of wealth and nutrient, at whose feet we ought therefore study, neither neglecting the green sap rising within ourselves, but rather, to remind us, in its glory, of what we have forgotten in our youthful trance upon this earth. Let the elders peel back amnesia to reveal the most ancient of days, dawn-forms glimpsed in dreams and whispered by the winged genius who close follows each man. For the hubbub and clamor soon cover over the soft voice of the angel, which genius in strength push aside all noise to hail the majesty of the mighter, more silent one whispering, and thus reveal to our chagrin what we all ought have known all along, and did, beneath dreaming.

Ones of great stature listen to hills, and valleys, and great expanses of sky, as sung by the elf-maiden who marks them in her close and welcome following. Thus, through their gallantry, giving way and heed to their lady, they gain stature. So to their tomes we go, not for mimicry, but to learn the most ancient ways of singing found in the great daring of their most unheard of craftings.

True, youth need for a time to shun the bright brilliance of the light and shade themselves in its shadow so their own sap stoppeth not, nor marvel at their greening. Yet to study the forms they unearthed, the sculptures they revealed hidden in the stone, the verses caught in the calls of mating birds, the shapes of misty dawn our eyes instant recognize is need if morn would grow towards evening. For these be our bones and sinews of soul-body we must build to grow into larger stature of self rooted in the ages.

The masters hand us great dowsing rods with which we divine the elder pathways and tracks covered over by earth and time, and through their worked and reworked and decades-reworked forms, find the form the strata of the canyons laid down over time, the pathways water travels when it is fresh and spry. In those forms are the echoes of mighty spirits, captured in the well-webbed talisman, whose grooves reveal that spirit's journeys and movements in texture-glyphed tale and magic.

The young truly balk at repeated study needed for mastery. Once learned seems enough, yet in learning and relearning, and etching in the grooves of the grey, soft caverns of skull, over time the song is learned in full.

And then once learned, the mind may first begin to sing. Though songs upon songs it may already have cast, as a potter's novice defective pots in the apprentice, all was prelude : good, needed, nourishing prelude, yet what unfolds after full learning is the first fruition.

Know, and know, and know : the deep study. Holding the riddle before their eyes uncomprehending, again and again, until its secrets spill forth. Of the great works, you go back and back and back some more, each time thinking you comprehend, knowing there is more fullness to find. Go ye forth and drink the lore with reverence, for with reverent hands are learnings learned. Reverent in beholding and full-facet turning to encompass intricacy of the majestic. And not merely to gloss, or in flippant feel to think fullness gulped. Let sink and drip and percolate.

There are flat sieves laid atop sieves atop weft of baskets lying o'er wicker depths, where the quick mind sees only skeins. In the sifting of strata over time you will know. You will know, O student. Study ye well, and know life and greening.

This post inspired by and dedicated to that prominent, astounding master, J.R.R. Tolkien.


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