At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


It was supposed to rain today. Instead it was clear and bright, and I spent a few hours outside with the buffing wheel and the polishing compounds working on pipes. I did not feel the cold in my fingers and thighs till I got up to have some tea or load up one of my own.

Making briars and their stems look reasonably young again is almost like meditation; while the fingers think and the eyes see, the mind can do what it wants, and the hours fly by.

From the Heike Monogatari, the opening line:

祇園精舎の鐘の聲 ...
Kionshoja no kane no koe ... ('kei-yuen jing-she no jung no seng ...'), "Peaceful garden simplicity hut 'of which' bell 'of which' sound";
the sound of the bell from the pavilion at Jetabana ....

No idea why that came to mind. I tried reading the Tale of the Heike once, but did not find it sufficiently interesting to continue. The religious university established upon the site of Anathapindika's gateway at the entrance to Jeta's Grove is important in the history of Buddhism, which as a philosophy interests me not at all. The impermanence of things as echoed by the fading bellsound is mostly irrelevant. The only link is that the buffing wheel was at the door, under the overhang, and my seat was facing up the walkway toward the parking lot. Trees and green stuff.

There was a futility to the exercise today. This batch of pipes were largely garbage, at best mediocre, and many had already experienced their best moments long ago. A couple were decent pieces, but none of those decrepit smoking tools could be considered worth your attention.
A transient collection, recalling a smoker who gave up.
He abused his pipes most ungratefully.
But they served him well.

They're clean again.
Ready for a new chapter.

Please note that 精舎 ('jing-she') also means schoolhouse, or a humble lodge where lessons are recited, learning is absorbed, tutelage is rendered, and minds are cluttered. All of those from the Buddhist connotations.

Also, it is crab season. The connection with Dan no Ura is obvious.

Similarly there is a mental threadline to the Battle of Nagashino, where another branch of the Minamoto ended four centuries later.


But all of this is pointless scenery in the mind.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


  • At 2:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    All that work on briars, is it commissioned? Or is it for re-sale? Do you do much with estates?

  • At 7:45 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Bit of both. These were for re-sale, but there are some lovely customer pieces I will get to after Xmas. Including a very large Dunhill with grain that looks like the Comoy staining on really old briar from years ago.

    Estates come in in fits and starts. The last three have been still lively gentlemen either paring down their collection or just outright quitting.

  • At 7:46 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    In the case of the last batch, he really should have quit ages ago.


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