In the movie Shrek I love the discourse between Shrek and Donkey when they first set out on their “whirlwind adventure” together. Shrek attempts to explain to Donkey that ogres are like onions because they are both made up of many layers. I’m not an expert on the genetic makeup of the ogre species, so I cannot comment on the accuracy of this particular scene in the movie. I can’t imagine Dream Works misleading us, so I expect this comparison is true.
However, I am an expert on making things up. I shall use this expertise to give the scientific proof of how people are like wood burls. For those of you unfamiliar with wood burls, let me enlighten you. A burl is a knot in a tree that is formed from a number of any stresses placed on the tree. Burls can form from a fungus, a virus, a particular injury to the tree, or a number of insect or mold infestations. The majority of burls occur below the surface of the ground, around the root structure. These burls generally go undiscovered unless the tree gets knocked down in a storm or is uprooted by a burly man. *Now you know why strong men are known as burly men (you see what I mean? I just made that fact up).
The burls that we at Old World Timber find are ones that have been harvested off of old discarded trees. The reason why burls are so coveted to wood turners is because the design that is found inside these stress marks are absolutely gorgeous. The rare and one-of-a-kind design on the inside of a burl makes each and every turned piece super unique. Therefore, one way to truly know you have an unmatched wood item is if it came from a burl
Aren’t people the same? We have all been affected by one kind of stress or another from this world. Scars have come from many sources and take many forms. Your pesticide may be your boss or your mother-in-law. I mean, for me, you know, it’s like umm… not my boss or mother-in-law. I love them both.
There is, however, a beauty that can come from these wounds. They have to be redeemed, for sure. We can’t just ignore them and call them beautiful. But if we learn the process of redemption that can come from life’s stresses, then we can use these marks in us to become uniquely gifted for all sorts of good. From stress comes a unique design. In burls and in people.