Monthly Archives: March 2018

My burnt thumb and the Lost Salmon of Knowledge

For a few days now I’ve been carving my first Pounamu (greenstone/nephrite) from a piece I cut with my newly built diamond saw here at dreamspace – a fish which I was calling the Salmon of Knowledge, from the Irish myth of Fionn:

“The poet Finegas spent seven years fishing for this salmon. One day Finn Eces caught Fintan and gave the fish to Fionn, his servant and son of Cumhaill, with instructions not to eat it. Fionn cooked the salmon, turning it over and over, but when Fionn touched the fish with his thumb to see if it was cooked, he burnt his finger on a drop of hot cooking fish fat. Fionn sucked on his burned finger to ease the pain. Little did Fionn know that all of Fintan’s wisdom had been concentrated into that one drop of fish fat. When he brought the cooked meal to Finn Eces, his master saw that the boy’s eyes shone with a previously unseen wisdom. …”

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmon_of_Knowledge

Strange things happen when you carve an archetype… Yesterday I got a steam burn on my thumb from my kettle – a first for me in 63 years. Later, swimming at Kaiti beach (where Captain Cook first came ashore in New Zealand), I had the fish in my pocket behind a green plastic doggie bag. It must have slipped out while I was floating on my back in the shallows. We waded back and forth until dusk, then told a young German camping couple what had happened and gave them my card, offering a reward if they found the greenstone fish at low tide. As of this morning, when we looked again ourselves, and the couple was gone, the fish is at large, whereabouts unknown, doing its wise thing out there. I want it back if only to finish carving it, but meanwhile I ponder the magical significance of this happening. It came at a time when I was pondering how to come out and teach my learnings, arts crafts, and philosophy. Perhaps I’m not ready yet. Perhaps when the Fish returns I will be…

Watch this space…

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