Sunday, April 03, 2016

a man who made things out of trees...

This morning I received two gifts. One was from a friend Eleanor Lux who bought this small puzzle box during a trip to Mexico.

The other was from Richard Bazeley, a book in digital form, The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees, by Robert Penn. It is a lovely book and a reminder that we were intended as human beings to live in context with nature and all that surrounds us. Thank you Richard.

The box is relatively simple and opens by catching your thumbnail under an edge of the triangle shaped wood. It is not manufactured to the high standards of some craftsman, but was sold to my friend for one dollar. A more complicated box sold for two. The box took me a few minutes to open because I was assuming it was more complex than it actually is.
“I grew up under an ash tree,” Robert Penn writes at the start of his new book. Really, his point is that we all did. The oak might have inspired more poetry, and the willow has a more evocative name. Ash was never used to make “stately furniture” or “Her Majesty’s ships”. But Penn argues that for all its apparent lack of glory, ash has been, at least in Europe, our most intimate sylvan companion.
Here in Arkansas, we've had two incidents in which gangs of feral hogs have destroyed our garden beds. We have been debating our options. We've put things back twice as best as we've been able. On the one hand, the feral hogs are an invasive species, dangerous to other wildlife, to the forests, and to human beings as well. On the other, they are a much larger problem than we can deal with alone. Getting a dog might help to keep them away from our home. But they reproduce as such a rate that 70% must be eliminated each year just to keep them in check. So we have been networking with neighbors to build a widespread coalition against them involving city and county governments. One friend of my had trapped and killed over 150 on his property in the past year and made little dent on their numbers. If we continue our retreat from the real world into cyber realities, you can guess who will be in charge of things and the world  (and we) will suffer Orwellian consequences.

At one time, we made all that was to be made largely from wood. Nearly all men made things from wood. We lived in close relation to it. We tested our own strength felling trees that are now brushed aside by heavy machines and burned as though they have no value, while consumers fill their homes with plastic junk. We continue to rush headlong into a future devoid of natural fiber. But that can be fixed.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the love of learning likewise.

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