Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Job Will Take 200 Years

It can take a hundred or more years for a seedling to grow into a large, mature, and harvest-able tree. A lot happens in a hundred years. Countries rise and fall-generations of people live full lives-so much history happens around a growing tree. Hurricanes, blizzards, drought, corrosive bacteria, parasites, woodpeckers, beavers and the vast array of human interferences like pollution, war, and most directly clear cutting have an impact on the life of a tree. It is very hard for trees to protect themselves and in turn do their natural job of protecting us.

Forests have always provided food and shelter. They protect from flood and landslides. They provide us with shade and oxygen for hundreds of years. Then when a tree is done doing that job, it is harvested and provides fire wood, pulp for paper and lumber (perhaps the highest purpose designated to a felled tree). A craftsman, carpenter, or artist can re-purpose this already fully realized natural wonder and through skill, personal will and imagination create a new life intended for a hundred years beyond his own.

A bowl- an axe handle- a ship-a house- an airplane.

Through respect and skillful manipulation the bounties of a single tree could last 200-300-1000 years. Fulfilling basic needs like air, fertilizer, shade-then ascending into the transcendent realm of art and invention. Wood provides the flesh of a living home. Those early American colonial antique tables of yours were probably born before Christopher Columbus. Wood is a natural element that deserves respect and attention. It deserves to be expensive.

So when you think a job is taking too long or costs too much-think of your great grandchildren enjoying the same tree your great-great grandparents sat under.

100 years of growth-100 years of furnishing-a couple months of inconvenience.


Anonymous said...
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The Sensitive Carpenter said...

Sorry didn't mean to delete!


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