Lines in Sand and MetalIn chasing and repoussé work, hammering lines into metal is called chasing. One chases a line with a hammer and a liner tool, either a curved or a straight liner. The straight liner doesn’t really have an up or down side, whereas the curved liner certainly does and needs to be held properly. It’s important to stop and look at the curved liner over and over again to make sure you’re holding it right.

I’ve spent some time lately not just chasing lines into metal but also drawing some lines in the sand. The entire process wasn’t so much about ruling things in or out or limiting possibilities as much as it was about taking a personal inventory and realigning my steps on the path. What began as a terrible exercise with these sand lines in needing to state my own obvious soon became a reaffirmation of where I stand, what I love, and why.

And in all of it, I thought about chasing and that silly curved liner. When you hold it upside down, yes, it will still make the line. But the line will be sloppy. And it will take exhaustive effort to do the sloppy line. It drains the energy quickly. But when you hold the curved liner the right way, the line doesn’t take effort to form, it just forms. Simply, beautifully, easily.

Lines in sand and metal are not haphazard. They get etched with great purpose. It’s up to us how difficult or how elegantly simple we allow them to be. Set your sights on your dream, take the moment to align yourself properly, and chase it down.

Ready, set, go!

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. To learn more about her current writing projects, or for ways to donate toward their completion, see