Unashamed, unabashed and unrepentant. We're head-over-heels in love with trees and here's why.
Give a little love, respect and affection
At Kentholz, we like to imagine a world where human beings take a different approach to forestry, silviculture and wood use. The idea being that, should we continue on our current trajectory, our species will eventually lose respect for a plant that we’ve shared our home with and has, quite literally, often been our home since we grew ourselves a pair of opposable thumbs.
And this would be a great tragedy, especially considering that people and trees share certain qualities that makes us kindred lifeforms in this great cosmic saga (bear with us on this one). Both are made of unique individuals with shared characteristics, both have an approximate lifespan of eighty years and are susceptible to disease and injury, and both consist of mostly water.
In a long-term relationship
You guessed it, we’re in love with trees. Human beings through the ages and in all corners of the globe, have had a symbiotic relationship with trees. We cite trees as being fundamental to our development as they meet our needs at every level of human experience.
Humans breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, and trees the opposite, and throughout our history, trees have also held a particular cultural significance. The ancient Celts, for example, revered certain trees, especially oak, ash and thorn, as they provided fuel, building materials, weaponry and ornamental objects.
The Oubangui people in West Africa plant a tree whenever a child is born, and when the individual dies, it is believed that their spirit lives on in the tree. The fig tree, the tree that the Budda is said to have sat under when achieving enlightenment, is stated to have even shaped the following 2,500 years of human history.
Early Greeks, Persians and other ancient peoples and cultures used the symbol of the ‘world tree’ – with roots wrapped around the Earth and the branches reaching to the heavens – as a symbol of the potential for man to ascend physical bounds and reach higher spiritual planes.
Birds of a feather
Our connection to trees may be based, in some small part at least, due to our similar physical characteristics. We both stand upright, rooted to the ground with limbs reaching from a central trunk, and the patterns we see in our circulatory system and the bronchi in our lungs can be seen in the root systems and branches of many trees. Trees also provide physical security in the form of shelter, and a sense of place and rootedness.
Humans universally prefer landscapes with trees or wooded areas and, in the real estate market, we find that trees actually increase the property value of homes.
And trees have also had a rôle in providing for us in the sphere of recreation and play as well. We’ve carved musical instruments from wood, crafted boats and canoes to explore, and enjoy shelter under trees and long walks through the woods. Trees have inspired works of art, literature and architecture, and the common tree of life motif has been used to represent notions of heaven and Earth, peace and unity, life, death and rebirth.
At a holistic, and arguably spiritual, level, trees help us to connect with something larger than ourselves. When considering our relationship with these plants we become better in tune with a state of mindfulness, and hopefully more compassionate to our surroundings.
Our mission at Kentholz is, at the very least, to simply honour the species we share our home with, to minimise harm, and to create lasting narratives of our own.
It might “only” be a table or a chair or a whatever but, to us, it’s a love story.