A few weeks ago, I drove past a tall tree that had fallen in a storm.
Like a good Pinterester – on less than a budget – I passed by again, and found a gentleman sizing the lumber into manageable pieces.
“Would you like a few logs?” He asked.
Oh, boy. Values-seekers-and-keepers know the value of real wood. So, I stuffed our company car full of logs – which are great for warm fires, but also – art projects, furniture – fairy-gardening, and just about everything in between.
After working on several construction projects in a developing nation, I knew that the wood would need to dry, but the hot car provided the perfect environment to let it ‘steam off a few pounds’.
I have seen so many beautiful planters, picture frames, and decorative tables, and chairs made out of real wood lately – that I’ve got a list a mile long of what I could do with this. And – a Dremel.
For some reason it reminded me of a friend, who – right before I lost my home, showed up one evening around Christmas and offered to help me finish my countertops, and that makes me feel lonely for my old home. It also makes me miss my son, and the many campfires we made, and filling our fireplace tall while curling up and watching movies around holiday-time.
Now that I have this wood, I am not sure exactly what to turn it into. I’ve read that homemade wine tastes good when seasoned in hollowed out logs, and ever since taking a food biology class and working for a CSA I’ve been interested in trying it out. I could use it for several furniture items. For years, people knew that we used a piano stool as a desk chair in our office, because it was the right size.
When I started to write a post about this natural wood – which is full of time-tested value and has always felt spiritual to me, I thought about the elements of a character in the novel Memoirs of a Geisha.
“I can see you have a great deal of water in your personality. Water never waits. It changes shape and flows around things, and finds the secret paths no one else has thought about — the tiny hole through the roof or the bottom of the box.” (…) “It can wash away earth; it can put out fire; it can wear a piece of metal down and sweep it away. Even wood, which is its natural complement, can’t survive without being nurtured by water. And yet, you haven’t drawn on those strengths in living your life, have you?”
― Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha
I also thought about the book The Pillars of the Earth:
“It’s like knowing your way through the forest. You don’t keep the whole forest in your mind, but wherever you are, you know where to go next.” ― Ken Follett, Pillars of the Earth – a novel about the building of a cathedral.
Natural resources that come from the environment seem to be dwindling more and more. As I pulled out the piece of wood today to contemplate possibilities, the song “Stand By Me” was playing by one of my favorite bands – and it occurred to me how many layers each human relationship has, and how sometimes we just can’t see how beautiful the inside story is until we’re broken, or felled, just like a tree through storms.
This also reminds me of a day when I helped a friend move, and the table that they always lit their candles on. Now that I have this wood, I am not sure what to do with it. I’ve noticed that a lot of people who use natural wood remove the bark, and sand it down. Is that true? I also don’t know how to identify the wood – although it was suggested to be locust.
As I work on this piece, I keep coming up with playlists and book quotes that compliment it’s progress and journey.
Like trees standing tall for years and years, I think it is important to stand by your people through the layers and through the storms. Trees are silent at the heart despite the rustling of their leaves and branches – they still know how to communicate, and no matter how strong they look standing on their own above the ground, you know what keeps them off their knees are the roots holding steady to each other under the ground. Although the storm is trying to destroy our homes, our businesses, our freedom, our friendships, our neighborhoods, and our bank accounts I pray that each piece is like an ensemble that becomes something valuable – and that manages to stand against the wind – and remains upright, by the mighty hand and will of God, Himself. A tree isn’t something easily moved, once it’s been planted and grows, you know it’s stood it’s ground over something.
I can’t imagine what kind of force it was, that took this tree down, but I’m trying to do the best that I can with the pieces. And to keep my own, standing.