history and sawing an oak

trees are natural history. sawyers are natural historians. aldo leopold wrote after felling the oak, ‘now comes the job of making wood…. there is an allegory for historians in the diverse functions of saw, wedge, and axe. the saw only works across the years, … one by one…. the wedge, on the other hand, … yields a collective view of all the years …. the axe only functions at an angle diagonal to the years … of the recent past. its special function is to top limbs, for which both saw and wedge are useless. the three tools are requisite to good oak, and to good history’. ‘ A Sand County Almanac, 17-19.

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