In the noises of my working I find silences that still any disquiet in my soul. The mallet of wood strikes wood and something inside me seems able to find the things that resonate in a kind of private silence. The striking blows become measured pulse beats that sever away the unwanted waste that tumbles in its silence to my benchtop and my feet. Silence meets my measured noise in steady rhythmic beats. I drive the mallet and sense depths as I lift the head once more and follow through with another and another and another blow. The rhythm develops its own steady momentum; silence follows each blow as if to punctuate the noise with silence as silence sometimes can—beat-silence, beat-silence, beat-silence, beat-silence—and the pulsing continues for an hour and then another and I lose myself to the silences beyond noise and here I find myself rested in my working.
My strike with the mallet compels the chisel in a way that excludes aggressiveness. Aggression creates its own unique noise according to the tool and tools in use and the one working in aggression; the too-heavy set on a plane, the heavy saw stroke and such. Each reflects aggression in the same way shouting does in drunkenness. Aggression really has no place as my arm drives the mallet and the head seats squarely to the chisel. Too heavy a blow gives no time for the cutting edge to sever and part the waste and the wood becomes all too readily bruised by a bevel compelled forcefully. When the rhythm is broken by impatience impatience rules, silence is broken and becomes displaced. The young man in me remembers my doing such things as a boy and my regret surfaces for a moment. But men trained by good men and good practice taught me respect in everything and patiently reproved me. They never bruised me with harshness as I saw others who were treated harshly. When you bruise the wood through harshness the bruises never really disappear. They remain unhealed below the surface—in it.
Through many years of self discipline I find myself ever more contented by the peace my hand working delivers to me. Sometimes I might work on other things necessary to earn income and to reach out to others with an alternative reality in the ways of working. This is my writing and my filming and such. This strain has become my important work, but a short burst of hand working always energises me and I regain peacefulness.
The feedback a mallet blow recoil brings is inestimable. I’m not sure that many understand this but I do understand that it’s not necessary to be consciously aware but that we do micro-adjust our alignments according to the feedback we receive in nano seconds with each delivered blow we make.
Throughout my day, the sharpening of a saw by file, the slicing cuts from the same saw, speaks back to me in myriad ways. I listen for the exactness of my presentation until clarity comes in the strokes I make. The clarity comes by my aligning every element of my being in every cutting stroke. In this I tune modulation and search out resonance for a pulse beat sound and touch reach out to me and correspond back and forth, back and forth until that perfect synchrony occurs. Peace prevails in the silences of my working. The short sharp pockets of silence between strokes, swipes and strikes. For every such action there follows resonance and then silence.
In silence and striking is contrast. Peace rests between two pivotal points of positive and negative actions as if momentarily suspended a hammock of silence restores our perception. Shouldn’t we yield in compliance to such pockets? Peace performs its restorative power amidst agitation if we respond by understanding such rhythms are designed to pace our lives; our input and output become a pulse beat in the same way the hammer blow and the pull back both work positively to one end even though only half of the movements actually strike. Both occur for the common goal of delivery.