Friday, December 4, 2009

Read.Eat.Listen: Ode to Trees

I've been thinking about trees and firewood all week. Not because of Tiger Woods (though he of course entered the consciousness), or because fellow songwriter Grace Woods had her Cd release this week (a fine showing at GAMH) but because a windstorm came through and blew down some maple tree branches from the trees in front of the house. All week, a tree crew has been trimming the over-full branches, filling the sidewalk and front yard with red and gold leaves before sending it all through a wood chipper. Before the tree workers went through it all, several strangers actually knocked on the door to see if they could collect some of the pretty branches and leaves. The limbs are fab for ornamentation but alas, not burnable, which is too bad as it's been cold. I learned the importance of making a fire early from my dad, and before that, the even larger importance of making sure there was enough firewood to last one through the winter. Which trees to cut, and when, figured into his thinking year-round. The best, longest burning wood was reserved for the holidays (madrone was special, oak & eucalyptus fairly pedestrian). Wood, and thus, trees (& vice-versa) were important to my dad, whether they were the ones he cut for firewood, or those he planted for fruit and ornamentation. Trees meant something to him, a person who wasn't so into things. Since then, I've met builders and luthiers who think about wood in a similarly reverential way (albeit their method of lighting/igniting wood is different). So anyhow, a very nostalgic ode to wood:
Read: A Natural History of American Trees
Eat: *only if you're on the road: The Nut Tree Restaurant, Vacaville * It's not what it was, but a classic California road trip experience
Listen: "The Duck's Theme" from Peter & The Wolf. Another classic, here narrated by David Bowie.