The first day I came to stand before a true giant, I had gotten there through hours of misery riding a winding road through the Northern California countryside. Carsick, with bronchitis and a sinus infection I hadn’t been able to shake for weeks, I felt like misery herself. When we finally rounded the bend into the shade of the coastal redwoods, we pulled off at the first place we came to and stumbled out of the car.
It took just moments to step across the shady needle-carpeted ground and stare up in awe at the closest tree to the road, to gaze up into its canopy far above our heads and reckon it was ‘big.’ In just those few seconds, I felt all my nausea, weakness, dizziness, and pounding headache fall swiftly and cleanly away. It was as though hours, no, days of suffering had washed down into the forest floor and were simply gone. As I stood riveted by this unlooked for change, I recognized that somehow in a way I didn’t understand, I had been healed. I felt strong and calm and steady in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time. Maybe it had been years since I’d felt this way. Had I ever felt this way? I wondered, as I gazed at those great giants.
How could anyone stand before these mighty trees and see board feet of lumber? The only proper attitude, I thought, is reverence.
Now that I have the chance to make a difference by joining the reclaimed wood movement, I am glad. Through marketing reclaimed wood products, we and others in this movement are cherishing the relics of America’s vanished old growth forests and of our history. We are inspiring people to think twice before cutting down a live tree like my great redwood.
We do appreciate the unique beauty of antique wood. We marvel at the handwork that went into hewing a beam by hand. We understand by dint of our years at hand craftsmanship the sweat of labor required to create these things. But always in the background is a fierce dedication to protect those things which are beyond price: our ancient forests, the keepers of our conscience, our strength, and our love.