I keep trying to figure out just how old this old tree was. They say you can count the rings from the center out to the bark and get the age. How many years did she stand tall in the forests of Oregon?
Visiting our tree (more literally our stack of vertical grain boards, once a tree) it is apparent there is energy in her still. I comment on this as a little bearded fellow in shorts and hiking boots (on this 50 degree day) loads our stack of lumber on to the back of a trailer normally put to use to haul hay. Not everyday do we drag the makings of a mast down the back roads of coastal Maine. Today is an important day.
This energy I speak of can be found in the silent stacks of wood, old wood, that rest in a barn in Washington, Maine. Our wood is set aside and ready to go to its new home, with its new purpose. The other wood is left behind for the time being. It is all so beautiful, and it has all taken so much time to come to its form on this earth. I feel a level of humility standing in its presence. The crew says I have a romantic outlook on things. And I’m thinking: how could you not?
I did observe that afternoon every person in that barn take a moment to lay their hands on the grain and look at it slowly and with respect for its perfection. There was not a hand that rest to admire that did not contemplate the things of grace this natural world builds, and continues with resilience, to build.
In the making of this west coast douglas fir, to its ultimate unmaking at age “x” in a saw mill in northern Maine, to its building again as a mainmast for Frances, this wood is now family.
She was beautiful in her stand, and I hope we are putting her back together just the way she likes. Laminated, our spar will be stronger. Some say it will last us a hundred years if we care for her correctly. Linseed oils, pine tar, beeswax. I say to that: my goodness, I certainly hope so. There is so much to be done in these 100 years.
Come meet our mast in June. We’ll be on the Maine State Pier.