by Glen Swartwout
Wood elves enjoy the remote reaches of deep rainforest, while wood hobbits rarely stray very far from comfort of the The Shire, but prefer to inhabit the cool forest edges. These Middle Earth dwellers are caretakers of forest glen and glade… they take care in how they interact with the trees and the other creatures of the wood… And even help restore the forest magic, nearly visible amongst the ferns, moss and faerie rings, which can entice the return of the Mu.
Sometimes humans or even an occasional orc make their way into the forest, and one can tell where they have passed. They use machetes to slash their way through the underbrush, wasting no time and taking no care to leave the forest in better shape than they found it. Saplings slashed carelessly to a point create a weaponized forest terrain, where one slip on a wet guava root could be deadly. That is why the hobbits and elves, when they cut a tree, cut it flush with the ground with a limb saw. One can even step on the remaining stump by chance and not realize it. No pain. No danger. No harm.
Ohia trees in particular are sensitive to having their toes stepped upon. When we work near them, we can sometimes use their root zone as a site for composting brush piles. This keeps us and the feral pigs from injuring their tender roots. It also serves to feed the ohia trees over time as the brush piles slowly break down adding to the soil.
At The Shire, we harvest standing dead ohia trees and utilize the straightest trunks as saw logs for square posts to build partial walls on, for example for a kitchen building that will be enclosed by partial walls and screening to keep critters from sharing in our food. Boards cut from the largest logs at six quarters on a band saw mill, can be used to make floors or furniture. Medium diameter straight sections of trees are perfect for posts. A little smaller and short sections with curves make nice braces, while long straight thin poles make exquisite railings. The smallest poles are perfect for building stick doors and stick walls. And wood elves and hobbits always keep an eye peeled for a curved segment of a branch that will make a perfect handle, especially when matched up with another similar set of curves for a matched set on a piece of furniture, or on two doors facing on the same room or hallway. Any leftovers of ohia make a perfect wood for heating, cooking and drying processes, as it is the sixth densest wood on earth. A small fire in the morning in a beehive oven made of lava rock will provide heat for cooking for the remainder of the day. Water pipes run through the masonry of the oven will heat water to bathe and soak in. Heat exchanged through the masonry or air vents can serve to dry fruits, while heat and smoke diverted from the flu can power a chamber for smoking meat and fish for preservation.
All of these resources beg to be harvested and utilized (or at least stored in dry space) much faster than we can currently keep up with. We need help. We need resources for dry space, a mill, and even a track machine to access the trees as they die. The rainforest is dying because of increasing burning of rock oil by the global orc culture. Middle Earth’s jet stream, high above the clouds that move with the lower elevation trade winds, comes from China, which is now being enslaved to produce plastic doodads that don’t work very well, sold, for example, at Walmart in Hilo. Sometimes we wish we could return the broken plastic stuff and get the trees back…
Wood is the element of wisdom… a precious and useful commodity in all of its forms.