Monday, April 12, 2010

Old Larch Tree

My good friends John and Kim had an old larch tree near their home that has for many years threatened to undermine the house and has steadily encroached on the power lines above. The local power company has lobbied several times to allow their crew to cut the majestic old tree down.

The ancient sentinel gave way to the chainsaw last week and in homage, Kim and John asked a family member to carve a statue in the remaining trunk.

In recent years, on the rivers feeding into the ocean on the Pacific Rim, there has been a resurgence of birds of prey. Most notable of these raptors are the majestic bald eagles. Fifty or sixty years ago, we never saw eagles in this area.

Deforestation and insecticide chemicals such as DDT had done a thorough job of decimating these beautiful birds.

Now that the chemicals are banned, the raptors are back. Not far from here, there is a large fir tree with a barren top and the eagles sit up there to hunt. This year a pair of peregrine falcons (!) has taken over the old snag by brute force, but that's a story for another day...

The statue is a monument to the struggle of nature that has played out on this river for millennia. The eagle, which is about five feet tall has just landed, with a salmon in it's talon. The entire carving has been done with a chainsaw. It's not finished yet and already the detail is impressive.

It's very sad that the old tree had to go, but what a fitting testament! I'm not a huge fan of chainsaw sculpture. You see it everywhere, being sold to tourists.
But this is a work of art.

April 16th update. Just got this photo of the finished eagle in the mail:

This weekend (April 17th and 18th) is the Depoe Bay Wooden Boat Show and Crab Feed in the "smallest harbor on earth". The first boat show of the season around here. More on that later.... Stay tuned!


Glenn said...

I hope the rest of the tree gets milled into boat planking or yurt parts. Larch is good stuff, strong, high resin content, relatively rot resistant.


doryman said...

I think the carver gets it. Family trade deal.
Welcome to the new economy.
Barter Forever! Leave the banks out...

The river gives us old trees now and then that would be perfect for boat lumber, if someone was ambitious enough to mill it up.
If you have any specific need, let me know and I'll watch for it. John always asks me if I think a log is worth milling into lumber when he snags a snag.