Sawn

stumped 1

I see, said the blind man, and he picked up a hammer and saw. Not blindness, exactly, but a very objective and analytical kind of seeing is required to cut down a tree, or to cut one up that has fallen on its own and may be spring-loaded with hidden stresses. Especially in a second-growth hardwood forest, where trees aren’t so massive that their falling will always follow a straight line, the logger must stay focused on the play of forces, ready to jump back at a moment’s notice.

stumped 2
Click photo for larger view.

But as time passes and the new surfaces made by a chainsaw begin to weather, strange things can happen. Those few minutes filled with the shriek and stink of the saw can acquire a patina of legend, in the way that violence so often seems to impart a glow of significance to the grayness of the ordinary.

fungus stump

But forget all that and look at the sawn wood. Should we be surprised if something that once passed messages between the sun and the underground kingdoms of the fungi should retain, even in its severed parts, a bit of magic?
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Submissions to the 18th edition of the Festival of the Trees are due by Thursday. See here for details.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

9 Comments


  1. Nice post, Dave, and wonderful photos. I’ll include the post in the soon-to-come December Festival of the Trees.

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  2. Great textures.

    The forests in the Ozarks are most second growth hardwood (mixed with pine) too. That combined with numerous ice damaged branches above demands extreme care when felling a tree.

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  3. Thanks, all. Hi, Marvin. Yeah, I’ve heard that loggers from the west coast really don’t like to come east, that our forests scare them — though that may be simply the sort of thing that eastern loggers like to tell themselves to make up for cutting down such comparatively wimpy trees!

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  4. Thanks. Interesting — I didn’t expect that last photo to be the one people would comment on, I guess because we have several log-ends with that kind of fungus, and it’s become a familiar sight for me.

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  5. ‘Those few minutes filled with the shriek and stink of the saw can acquire a patina of legend, in the way that violence so often seems to impart a glow of significance to the grayness of the ordinary. ‘
    That, with the pictures, the second in particular, quite shivery!

    Reply

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