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The last Friday in April is Arbor Day, an occasion to celebrate trees. Log homes are all about trees.

I remember the first log yard I visited, seeing hundreds of branchless tree trunks stacked to dry. Then I watched some being turned into wall logs. They still implied the tree they came from.

By contrast, boards from a lumberyard, say two-by-fours (colloquially called that, even though their actual dimensions have shrunk to 1.5 by 3.5 inches), don’t give any hint of their origin. Nor do toothpicks or baseball bats. (In fairness, particleboard is instantly recognizable as wood chips, shavings and sawdust, the waste products of trees.)

After logs are cut and stacked, they still resemble trees, some more than others, depending on whether their bark is peeled off by hand tools or they’re shaped to uniform dimensions by precision machinery. Logs are still clearly trees, so when you’re sitting in your living room gazing at your log wall, if you feel a sense of connection, that’s probably because the logs remind you of trees, which remind you of the forest, which, at least subconsciously, ought to recall the arboreal origin of the human species. (The pertinent theory is morphic resonance, or collective memory.)

Even after proto-people shed their tails, they continued living in trees, which provided shelter, food and protection from predators. Further evolution brought them down from the trees and into caves. Eventually, stone-agers devised tools, including sharp-pointed rocks capable of shaping tree trunks into logs, which later generations figured out how to stack to form shelters. Log dwellings advanced from crude huts to modern houses.

Today, most post-industrial humans regard trees as mere commodities, and disposable ones at that. In many cases, wood has been replaced by non-growable products and byproducts (cellophane packaging, for example, came from wood cellulose, whereas plastic is made from petroleum). On top of that, the biggest use of trees worldwide is for fuel.

Log homes remain true to their roots. When you build a log home, you aren’t just providing shelter fashioned from a beautiful, durable and renewable resource — wood; you’re also making good use of a God-given gift: trees. So, you have every reason to honor these natural wonders this Arbor Day.

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Comment by Denny Johnson on April 16, 2012 at 9:59am

Very well put, Roland. Trees are a real gift. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Comment by John Duke on April 14, 2012 at 10:38pm

Very nice post.

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