Sorry, not that. I’m talking blacksmithing. You know that hammer and metal thing you thought no one did anymore?
Some people are still doing it. In fact, the craft is enjoying a resurgence in Saskatchewan, as people look for something that doesn’t come from Walmart. Something not digital, something they can hold in their hands. Something they can make themselves.
Dustin Small and the Saskatchewan Blacksmith Guild host a hammer-in every month. Artisans, farriers, and crafters come together to share their knowledge, pound the iron, and pass the skill down to the younger generation.
Fourteen-year-old Jesse Porter prefers to do more with his hands than hold an iPad. Jesse, who has ADHD, attends hammer-ins and finds that working with metal helps him to concentrate.
For M. Craig Campbell, a blacksmith and sculptor, metal is just fun. “With the heat and fire, it’s a phenomenal material, a bit of a chameleon. At 2500 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s buttery soft, almost a liquid.”
What are you doing next Saturday?
Is it the same?
After all this time, are we the same?
I don’t know. How would I know? How can I compare who we are now with who we were then…?
The years rolled on, shit happened. Evasions. Lies. Large and small hurts delivered in anger and in silence.
Shared memories and secret smiles. Mornings rushing around or sleeping in. Frenzied days and wild nights. Laughter … I don’t have to try to remember the laughter because we laugh still you and I.
I wasn’t looking to get married all those years ago, not that we could back then. I was looking to get laid and so were you…
And here we are, forty years on. Thinning hair, and rounding shoulders, and still looking to each other—to get laid.
As a species we’ve done our best to wipe each other out, wrecked whole continents of people because they weren’t like us. Didn’t look the same, didn’t think the same, didn’t speak our language.
And yet, despite our millennia of ignorance and arrogance and greed, we haven’t managed to destroy everything…not quite everything. Not yet.
Thanks to people like Katani Julian, a Mi’kmaq language teacher from Nova Scotia, indigenous languages live on.
In celebration of the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages, Julian took on the task of translating Paul McCartney’s Blackbird into Mi’kmaq feeling that lyrics like Take these broken wings, and learn to fly resonate with the indigenous experience in Canada. “It’s the type of gentle advice we get from our elders when we feel defeated, when we feel down.”
In the hope that we can learn to not break any more wings, here is Emma Stevens of Eskasoni, Nova Scotia singing Blackbird…