Back about the time my grandfather was a young man worrying about the Kaiser, a vast walnut grove was planted up north. The trees were grown tall and sturdy, unlike the heavily pruned orchards of today where the trees resemble large bushes.
When my father was a young man the orchard was played out, and in keeping with the times, no better use for the wood could be thought up than burning it.
One lone, straight, line of trees was spared to act as a windbreak.
Now in my time, these last trees were cracked and broken, returning to the earth on their own in bits and pieces. The decision was made to take them down.
This time, however, they aren’t to be burnt. They will serve generations to come as tables and chairs and bookcases and musical instruments and countless other pieces of functional art.
And with any luck, every now and then, they may also serve to remind us that while we human animals have the power to destroy the natural world on a whim, we have never managed to acquire the ability to match its effortless beauty.