Thursday, October 06, 2016

trees and forests.

Yesterday the Diane Rehm show on PBS was about "Celebrating and understanding our urban forests." The program featured guest Jill Jonnes, historian and author of  Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape. Some might be amazed at how powerful trees can be in healing and protecting the human psyche. My daughter, a resident of New York City, noted how healing it was for her to come home briefly to the forests of Arkansas, and it is a shame that so manyothers do not have that kind of opportunity. Along those lines, my wife provided this link to a site that offers free tools to analyze the health of forests and urban trees,

It is time that we acknowledged how important our trees are to us, but to also acknowledge how important whole forests are. I have been reading Peter Wohlleben's book, the Hidden Life of Trees, What they Feel, How they Communicate. The story he tells is that forests are actually communities very much like human ones, although the communication between trees is slowed to a forest's pace, barely discernible to human observation. As I have said, it can take well in excess of a hundred years for a hardwood forest to mature. In light of Wohlleben's information, we learn that the real culture of the forest may take thousands of years to mature. Mere centuries are not enough.

The forests we have now are fractured, having been  clear cut and abused any number of times. And the human culture we inhabit? The same can be said of it. Friedrich Froebel, having grown up in the Thuringian Forest, having served as a forester's assistant, and seeking to reinforce the child's sense of wonder and wholeness, would have known a great deal about this.

I found it interesting that Peter Wohlleben lives and works near the forest where my father was encamped during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII.

Yesterday in the woodshop, I introduced one of my students to the shooting board, with which he could square his stock and bring individual hand sawn pieces to exact uniform length. He has become my star pupil in that he fully grasps the importance of square cuts and is excited about the effort taken to achieve quality in his work. Unlike some of my students, he appears to understand the value of practice and is therefor willing to do it.

Make, fix, create, and thereby suggest the possibility that others may learn likewise.

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