I have decided to begin a sporadic series of essays on the meanings and philosophies of life that represented in that beloved item of my favorite hobby, the pipe. I will greatly appreciate any comments you have or discussion you may wish to pursue.
The Pipe Is A Work of Art
A pipe is of course
a vehicle for indulging in tobacco leaf, and it is a grand vehicle indeed, but.... it is far more than only this simple vehicle.
A pipe is a work of art.... from several different levels. The pipe is a technological work of art. It is also a philosophical work of art and a medicinal work of art. Finally, it is indeed, also a sculptural work of art.
Technological Art of the Pipe - although pipes can and do look different from sample to sample, the simple, yet perfect technology behind the design is art in its truest form... a way to bring improved function to our lives. Exemplifying simplicity with only three basic parts... the bowl, the shank, and the stem (mouthpiece), the pipe is perfectly designed to allow us to meld flame and leaf in a controlled fashion for our indulgence. Usually made of simple materials (wood, rubber, plastic, and even corn-cobs) the pipe performs this complex, ritualistic work with flair.
Philosophical Art of the Pipe - when a man smokes a pipe, the effect is far greater than if a man smoke's a cigarette. Not only is the leaf typically more potent and robust, the interaction of a man and his pipe is far more profound and intimate than with a cigarette. The pipe is a friend who has usually been with the man through good times and bad... perhaps for several years. Therefore a man can feel more comfortable and contemplative about life while indulging with his pipe. In this way, the pipe helps a man to explore more deeply the philosophies of life and helps him to more successfully unravel those items in life that can seem mysterious and /or untangible.
Medicinal Art of the Pipe - having been a fan of the pipe ever since I snuck out back in the woods behind my childhood home. (I was eight years old and had "borrowed" one of my father's pipes and a small handful of leaf), I have come to know and realize the true medicinal qualities a pipe can offer a man. The pipe can give you a boost of energy when you are tired, it can sooth you when you are unable to fall asleep, and it is a willing psychologist who will allow you to discuss your inner-most thoughts. The pipe helps to deaden the pain of sorrow and loss, and helps to further highlight the beauty and joys of life. A pipe can help a man focus when his mind is frazzled,and it can spawn creativity in the mind when you feel dull and listless. The pipe can even be a marriage counselor in those instances when it difficult to understand
your wife. More than asprin, more than Tylenol, more than even a good stiff drink, the pipe is, in my humble opinion, the true, original, mental health vitamin.
Sculptural Art of the Pipe - true artistry exists when care is involved. A pipe is the truest expression of artistry among those who enjoy tobacco. There is no more beautiful, sculptural, nor emotional artistry expressed than in those items we hold dear to us. When you look at a pipe, you can see the graceful curves, the smooth and rough edges. With use, an individual patina helps to personalize this work of art and make it fully individual for the owner. I can often look at my pipe (whichever one is in my hand at the moment) in much the same way I can look at a painting or a sculpture at a museum.... I see its beauty... and its own beauty helps to create beauty in me and also helps me to become more aware of the artistry of all of life.
As always, may your bowl stay dry and your leaf be ample,