Well, I think I’ve finally finished off the giant red oak I cut down about 3 years ago. It was a magnificent tree. It yielded some wide, clear planks that forever spoiled me concerning quality lumber.
Being a brand new woodworker, I didn’t realize the work that both nature and I must do to generate such beautiful and useful material. I don’t shy away from the work. I enjoy it. I can cut down a tree, have it limbed, bucked into useable lengths, and loaded onto a trailer bound for the mill in a matter of a few days. All by myself. It is an immensely gratifying experience–to do all that on your own. However, we sometimes forget the work the tree goes through to give us that beautiful lumber. I counted the rings as best I could after dropping that majestic red oak. Over 80 years old. 80 years to produce what I cut down in less than 10 minutes. Now, granted, the furniture I produce from that tall, straight beauty will last a few generations, and be filled with a pride only someone who creates can imagine, but, you can’t help but to feel a touch of sadness at such a passing.
I admit to occasionally hugging a tree; albeit to get a rough measurement at breast height to determine the yield in board feet I stand to gain. But I can never get over the sense of loss I feel when I drop a big beauty on my own property, and leave just a stump to mark that it was there. Nature’s cycle, I guess.