Workers in Wood

Each in his own way has embraced its strength, its vitality, its beauty.  Far, now, from the chaos and uncertainty of their upbringing, each of their paths seems to echo its resilience and steadfast healing power as it is harvested abundantly from our vast forests still carrying life within it.

The youngest of them relies on its practical versatility to expand his workspace, to organize his inventory efficiently, and to turn his house into a comfortable home for family and work.  He clears part of his small acreage to make room for a large custom deck and expanded front porch, both constructed by him of sturdy boards carefully placed to last for years, the clearing of the land never infringing on the powerful protection of the trees encircling his land and his life.

The middle one chips away at its surfaces to reveal the images and the spirits hidden within its rings, carving masks and poles that connect him with an adopted culture while he manages the resources of a place that honours this craft and this culture. Then one day he shifts his focus, taking his aesthetic into people’s homes and lives, renovating, building, infusing each structure with the artist’s spirit and the craftsman’s precision as he frames perfectly straight walls with it, miters perfect corners with it, and customizes perfect design solutions.

The oldest fell in love with its properties decades ago, reaching the pinnacle of Master Cabinetmaker, practicing his craft in the homes of the rich and famous before returning to this land he loves most.  The ten forested acres surrounding his home inspire his creativity and endurance as he tackles the challenges of making the old house there a beautiful and functional home.  Storms sometimes bring down a giant tree or two.  He scoops them up lovingly, mills them, dries them, incorporates them into the newest addition or fashions them into beautiful objects to use or to simply appreciate.

These three are my brothers.  Wood is not the only medium each uses to express himself.  The youngest shares his wit, gives us the gift of laughter.  The middle one creates art out of stones and characters out of the metal detritus of past lives.  And the oldest makes beautiful music and designs homes for others that expand and protect the energy of their owners.

But their attachment is instinctive and powerful to the wood and the trees around them, trees that connect so fundamentally to the earth, that clean our air and give themselves up to our needs.

Perhaps our great-grandfather watches over these brothers of mine, nudging them towards that which gave his shipbuilding life in this new and welcoming land such meaning and stability over a century ago. Perhaps it’s their roots on this west coast that explain their attraction, where they are never far from one or another of its species.  Or maybe they just know that somehow everything is connected, and that the wood we take for granted all around us is a powerful connection to the other half of ourselves, to this Earth, this planet, that gives us life.