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 The lure of the Pipe

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Location : Ohio
Registration date : 2011-01-19

PostSubject: The lure of the Pipe   Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:07 pm

My main form of nicotine consumption is snus and nasal snuff. A pipe just fills in the evenings. When I quit cigarettes I had a feeling something was missing. I found out what it was after starting to smoke a pipe again. It's the smell of burning tobacco. It feeds my muse. I write for two smokeless tobacco publications and I write better and more inspired with my pipe burning. Or more accurately the tobacco, burning my pipes seems like a bad idea.

I had a hard time figuring out why I liked the pipe as opposed to all the other methods of enjoying lit tobacco. I now believe it's primarily the same reason I have gravitated to DE shaving; It's not disposable. In a society that more and more seems to replace things rather than repair, or buy the cheapest version available so that when we get bored with it it can be tossed in the garbage with a minimum of guilt, smoking a 50 year old pipe, using a 30 year old razor or the modern made equivalents are an oasis of stability. I know that two of my pipes are at least 25 years old and both still function exactly as they were intended. Even my new corncobs will likely enjoy a long lifespan. When I pick up a estate pipe or old razor at the antique shop I always stop for a minute and ponder the history attached. What sights they've seen, what events they helped celebrate. A birth, a wedding, new jobs, new homes... A part of me also briefly ponders if it knows the loneliness of sitting ignored on a shelf, waiting for a good cleaning, being filled with tobacco and warmed gently by the burning ember.

So am I over romanticizing the basic burning of tobacco in a piece of carved wood? Am I nuts? Or am I beginning to see the imponderables of the lure of the pipe that has captivated centuries of others like me?
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Age : 55
Location : Brampton, Ontario
Registration date : 2009-01-11

PostSubject: Re: The lure of the Pipe   Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:43 pm

Nice post. I also like to think of my estate pipes as you do. Where have they been & what importance did they have in their owner's lives. Perhaps none since they were passed along or perhaps a great deal and only passed along after the owner himself passed. Regardless, I doubt that this has much in common with the fabled pipe smoker of old. I say this because the concept of estate pipes is only about 25 years old. More likely, the owner considered the pipe as a companion that simply gave him something to do with his hands.

Welcome on-board!
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PostSubject: Re: The lure of the Pipe   Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:50 pm


Bygone days live on in them.


What a Face
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Age : 28
Location : St. Louis
Registration date : 2011-01-12

PostSubject: Re: The lure of the Pipe   Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:23 pm

I've been asked this question inquisitively by my girlfriend a number of times. "Why do you like pipes?" She did not mean it in an antagonistic way, despite the fact that she is one of the most anti-cigarette people in the world -- thus why I continue to emphasize the difference between cigarettes and pipes -- but in a curious and even loving way. It's a valid question, especially when you know one specific detail.

I'm 20. I picked up my first pipe my freshman year in college after seeing someone smoking one at the restaurant at which I was currently working. Seeing and smelling that pipe reminded me of my old music teacher, a truly great man -- and I don't use 'great' as a synonym to 'good', but truly great, like Alexander -- who always used to smell of a pipe. I remember when he stopped smoking and I remember how strange and barren it seemed to not smell that aroma on him. (To sidetrack for a moment, I asked him recently what tobacco he used to smoke and he described a blend whose symbol was a sinking ship. If anyone knows what brand this might be, please let me know.)

In any case, I asked the gentleman at the restaurant where he bought his pipe and he told me about a nearby shop called John Dengler's, a pleasant, tiny shop, run by a husband and wife. I went there the next day to pick up my first pipe. Due to the fact that I work at the local Renaissance Faire every year, I picked up a clay tavern pipe, figuring I could use it at the Faire. The man working the shop at the time gave me a free ounce of tobacco with my purchase, called Cameron's, and I remember thinking it smelled like oats.

My first experience smoking that pipe was perched on a ledge outside of my freshman dorm, failing miserably at getting it lit, probably due to the fact that it was windy and I was shivering from the cold November air.

But I digress from the original question of this post. After succeeding at smoking the pipe for the first time, I felt like a Buddhist monk in deep meditation. I felt calm; I felt good. That as enough of a reason for me to continue: it made me happy.

Since then I have discovered the joys of meerschaum, the beauty of a well-carved briar, and the simple pleasure involved in the contemplation of a new blend, a new shape, or simply the feeling of a pipe in my hand, even unlit.

I find pipes to be a work of art, and I think this is true beyond the obvious. It does not take the penetration of the philosopher to see that pipes are visually appealing. But art makes one stop and reflect -- reflect upon the art, upon the world, upon oneself. Pipes do this better than most things. In this way, the process of enjoying a pipe is, in itself, meditative artwork.
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