I’m not always a good person to go for a walk with, especially when I have a camera in hand. I get distracted. People don’t even expect me to keep up any more, though if they’re considerate, they’ll wait when they come to a fork in the trail.
I love trees, and I love wood. I think I love trees more than wood, though my wife might say otherwise. I like to cut trees down and turn them into firewood, which is why C. might think that. My father loved trees and he loved wood, as in boards and lumber. I think he liked wood more than he loved trees. He loved the way different woods looked, he loved the grain, and he appreciated figure. Grain is the physical construction of the longitudinal wood fibers. Figure, in wood, is the appearance of pattern, caused by varying orientations of the wood grain…think of the the “flame” or “fiddleback” patterns you may have seen in fine furniture or in a beautiful violin, and you know what figure is.
My father loved to make things from wood, be it a cabinet for his music system or a half-model of the skiff he had rowed as young man. I don’t think he ever threw away a piece of wood that was potentially useful for something. In his garage was a bundle of white cedar shingles he had bought in 1942, for six dollars. The longer he had those shingles the more shingles cost to buy at the lumberyard, and it got so he couldn’t bear to use them, perhaps because he had the story of how he’d only paid six dollars for that bundles of shingles. Over his lifetime, the story of that bundle of shingles yielded him far more than six dollars worth of “interest” on his original investment. He still had those shingles when he died.
But I digress.
The other day, we went for a walk, me and my wife and our dog and my daughter and my daughter’s dog. As usual, I lagged behind. I was looking at the trees. One of the oak trees in the field we were passing through had a branch that looked interesting. So I looked at it, and was glad I did.
Click. Click. Click.
What did I see?