and the typeset version:
Whose Woods are These I Think I Know
At any given moment, these are the only woods we have. We do what we can with them, my dear, always many and diverse. Yet just a tiny little forest in the vastness. Some of our woods are soft and mulchy while some are brittle and sharp. There’ll be splinters and cracks, switches and boughs. But used together, in ways appropriate to their kind, they’ll be useful. Like don’t use kindling-wood so support the house. I know you often think, being small, that you don’t always have the woods you need. That others more skilled at building, the polishers and craftspersons, or the armory whittlers have advantages and types of wood beyond your resources. I’ve heard you cry that your stand of woods is lacking meat or certain fruits, you haven’t the wealth of many rings and nuanced etchings. That when you rope the trunks, the roots are shallow and fail the weight you beg them carry.
Rearrange, my dear, and be patient. Keep trying the woods that you have. I’ve seen a woodsman create with 100 what many cannot in a jungle. We must seek and study our world, evince all its ins and its outs. Which of our woods will comfort, which we can hone for attacks. What parts need handled carefully and preserved, that they might grow fuller and larger with age, ‘til they form a bridge toward where you need to go.
It is greatly advisable to journey and trade. Take with you fresh seeds and young branches. Try never to sever your roots, but graft and train, splice and mend, understand what will fertilize.
Your woods are an active place and a venture, requiring tenacious tending. Climb, my child, but test your footing, not every sapling will hold. You can succeed and will, should you choose to partake with the People of Woods. It only takes time and practice – adapting and adaptation – the bud and the tendril, the log and the trunk. Recite and remind and then jumble.
Above all, my daughter, please play. Pick-up sticks, wooden boats and chutes and ladders. Kites and slingshots, barrels and monkeys, apples to apples. Now is the time to throw peaches and chew the walnuts’ rind, bowl crabapples, smoke the reed and sniff the pine. Some whips will leave seams you’ll never forget, some falls may even break a limb, but you will grow and know, know and grow, until you, like the tree, flourish and bloom, strip and stand bare, proud and enduring, withstanding both wind and the wave, strikes and blows, the cold and the dark, all from your stock of woods and what’s possible.
Whoever dreamt a log could roll on rivers, or bend into a wheel? Who knew they’d form enormous arks – large enough to save our world? The handing of a tiny reed embossed with cursive love, sharpened to a blade, signs set to warn of danger, posts to fort a home. My love, impossible does not apply with your woods – all that we know is unknown where the woods come into play.
Experiment, invent, babble the brook or construct a staying dam. Use our woods, love and care for them, ignite your passion, rub them together toward sparks, thatch, nest, spear. The woods are waiting – and these are yours.
click here for all 6 pages – The Notebook