This walking stick started life as a tree. In the woods of most of B.C. you will find logging roads. I was walking along one and saw this little hemlock growing out of a crumbling logging road-cut. The road had cut an edge on the upward side of this fairly steep grade on its way to a logging cut that had long ago been logged. I knew that this tree wanted a new life. The soil was about to drop as it crumbled and it had bent close to a 180 degree turn to reach for the sun before more erosion had taken some of the road away. Roads make great paths for water and interrupt the natural downward flow so this logging road had created a strange geology that had started normal.
I took out my saw blade and quickly cut at the root in maybe thirty seconds. I used the saw on the branches and then cut the small branches with the long knife. The essence of a tree survives indefinitely in healthy wood but if it dries out, and becomes soil, returning to the mother, it is no longer containing a spirit, but gone back to the conflagration of ‘The Spirit of Mother Earth’, or for less shamanically opined; soil.
The spirit of the once perfectly healthy young tree, hanging onto the undergrowth upside-down, had been forced to a dramatic change of direction.
And very recent rain had washed more of the cliff away and this tree was going to lose its fight. It reached out me with its heart like it had been reaching up to the sun and I saw immediately how perfect this small tree would be as a walking stick. I felt urged to quickly bring out my Victorinox to keep the spirit in this wood alive and use it to my favour.
You may or not know that having a good strong walking stick is one of first steps towards learning respect for the natural world and is often taught in wiccan. The spirit of the wood is strong and helps to keep you safe. The strength is required to be solid with a weight that would not allow an assailant a chance to get back up. A stick should be selected to assist in many walking situations; river crossing, small stream or crevasse vaulting, as well as protection from harm. It can be used as a quick shelter pole or tri-sided platform in a treetop.
Each stick is named by me or whoever owns it. A person can nickname it, as I have with this stick, or give it a shamanically derived name. As a budding shaman, slightly Buddhist in slant, I can select a name for you with your help. It is a short solemn ceremony with one candle. This is my stick and no its not for sale because it has been working for me for a long time now.
When I started rounding off the end, the base of the tree, I found the angle that I had sawn made the long snout of ‘Griz’, almost perfectly. I began to see the long jaw line of the roaring Grizzly Bear which was unforgettably pictured in a National Geographic Magazine. The mussel took the most time but I think it came out well.
I hope you like the Griz stick, I will post more examples of other walking sticks soon. Your comments are always nice to have. Retweeting is tweeterrific.
Wood must be seen in true life to be truly appreciated.