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Editorial by Doug Cook

A Hobart welding helmet from NorthernTool.com

(Nov. 27, 2009) — My dream as a young boy was to be a welder, there was something so mysterious and compelling about the monolithic structures of man and science fabricated from metal.  Something to aspire too. Everything around us is possible because we humans learned how to manipulate and form metal.

There was something that happened in my young life that was the catalyst to a  life’s trade in welding and metal fabrication. It lead to the pinnacle of my career when I was hired to fit and weld tubular assemblies for rocket engines used on upper stages of launch vehicles and on the geosynchronous  satellite they carried into orbit. The opportunity to have made a mark on the world in such a way was a truly proud moment in my life.

This something was Sci-Fi and the laws of physics.  There was a description in a book that described the state of matter, how matter was made of energy. It was a stunning revelation, a 50lb block of steal held between your hands, so dense and weighty, it had tangible mass, drop it on your toes and you would have a bad day. The reality is that this mass  of steel is .999999999 to the umpteenth decimal empty space. But it has mass and substance. What a  profound concept. This changed my thinking forever.  Along the way through life you never know the path will take you.

The path has led me to writing of all things. But strange as it may seem it makes sense, a trade and a craft is the extension of the human mind. An extension of the work of the great creator. Welding is a process of joining, joining thoughts and ideas is really not too different. It is creativity. In my quest of expression and joining thoughts into something tangible, critism of the best kind came from an acquaintance who’s generous help and encouragement has been a true gift.               

Very well done, Doug….see its not so hard to go from welding metal to welding words….!”

Its probably a lot easier to weld words….”

The Human mind is an amazing bit of Gods Craftsmanship. The miracle of what is an unbelievably complex combination of dust from stars combined in such a beautiful rich complex formation of chemicals and living tissue that gives rise to  emotion and the process of thought. Dirt in the tread of your shoe originates from the same stars, the profound idea that elements from the same source combined in a different form gives rise to the miracle of the vessel of your spirit and soul.

Welding; the process known technically as Metal Joining through the Fusion Process. Welding is not unlike the craft of writing. One has to have good hand to eye co-ordination. In writing one has to have a running balanced cognitive train of thought along with sufficient skill sets of using ones eyes and hands to produce a physical product of thought. Welding is quite similar in this respect.

Welding involves long periods of personal isolation and mental focus in order to be proficient and obtain a quality of craftsmanship. It also requires the same skill set of hand to eye co-ordination as in writing. Welding also requires a degree of cognitive interpretation of constant changing variables and adaptation of these variables to the goal of quality. The long periods of space-time with that welding hood down gives one much time to be thoughtful and introspective.

In writing the constant variables of how a word or phrase, and how these things are used and arainged in context take a myriad of forms so complex not two instances of composition are ever the same. In welding, no 2 welds are ever the same. There are so many variables that in order to obtain the highest quality possible, it becomes a craft of thought as much as handwork. When you put pen to paper or fingers dance on the keys, there is long periods of space-time where ones minds travels the universe.

From the beginning of reading of the General Theory Of Relativity, I was struck by the paradox of Albert Einstien, a man with a mind and spirit so wonderous, a mind that traveled the heavens and came to see the wonders of the universe by dint of space and time. I wonder if his theory of E=MC2 placed limits on his thoughts from traveling faster than the speed of light? Does the mind have a special warp speed? How is the fusion of God, The Spirit and The Universe possible? The wonder is not only Einstien’s  theory, it is also the beauty of a mind able to soar through heaven and earth and understand what the universe is.

The epiphany is, in writing as it is in welding, one never stops learning or discovering something new.

The miracle is not only of God’s creation of mind, body and soul, it is a miracle of what one can accomplish with these gifts from the heavens.  A skill or craft is not a matter of one or the other having a higher degree of difficulty. It is a matter of  what the human spirit is capable of.

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