Monday, September 6, 2010

Making Runes

A recent storm brought down a large branch from the cedar tree next to our house. On further examination we realized that one of the large, trunklike branches was growing into the roof. We called a tree guy to take it down. This is the tree that was next to the bedroom in which I grew up. In my youth, I would sometimes imagine it to be my guardian, protecting me from tornados and thieves.

Yesterday, I was mowing the lawn and returned to the tree when I finished. I thought of the recently removed trunk and wished I'd grabbed a branch from it to make runes. I got off the mower and asked the tree if I could have a living branch so that I could make a set of runes. It's best to use living wood because a piece of the tree's spirit remains in the runes. I don't know if I believe that, but it still seemed polite to ask. I was hoping for a sign.

To my surprise the answer was clearer than I could've imagined. The stump that was left from the trunk removal was a perfectly shaped heart. The tree – my guardian tree – showed that it loved me. I sawed off a branch that looked like just the right size for runes.

I had to borrow a neighbor's electric saw because ours was too small (a kid's jigsaw). I made a quick trip to the hardware store for sandpaper, safety goggles and a pair of leather workgloves (my pair is missing one glove. Wish I could find it). Then I put the branch in the vice down in the basement and started sawing. I made 35 rounds (I needed 25, but I wanted extra blanks in case of errors).

I then sanded each of the rounds with coarse (60) sandpaper and then with finer (120) sandpaper until they were smooth. I have to admit that I love the smell of cedar and this beautiful, fresh wood was so aromatic my nose was in heaven all night.

Next, I took the sanded blanks and drew the runes on them, using a pencil. When I had everything to my satisfaction, I took the wood burner and burned in the runes. I was a little sloppy on some, but that's why I had the extra blanks. In the end, I had my full set of runes, made by my own hand from a tree that had grown up with me, sharing a wall of my room. I can't wait to use them. Runes are never stronger than when made by your hand from wood that holds personal meaning.

This is going to be fun!


F.S. said...

Great story - thanks for sharing. The runes look beautiful.

My wife Jane always said "thanks" to plants when she plucked leaves, flowers, or fruit from them. She had learned to do that in environmental education camp as a kid, and the habit stuck. I've picked it up, too.

I'm still subscribed to your blog, and was so glad to see a fresh post!! My own blogs have gone dark due to technical problems that I hope to overcome in the next few weeks. Hope ...

Joanna Sandsmark said...

Hey Fred! Great to see you, too. Asked and answered, by the look of the 'heart'. I personally think it's not a bad habit at all. Respect for all living things. Now if I were my dad, who loved bad puns, I would say, "The trees can communicate. All you have to do is listen to their bark."

I will groan for you.

Lee L. said...

I'm jealous, Joanna! Those runes look great and I enjoyed the telling of the tale behind their making. How have you been? We haven't talked in a long time. Too long.

Lee L. said...

Btw, Joanna, I sent you an email. Be on the lookout for a message from someone named Lee. Just thought I'd warn--er, inform you.

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