My dad is a woodworker, so as a kid I heard a lot about knots. Sometimes they were looked at as a source of character and beauty in a piece of wood, other times they were simply something to be avoided. It all depended on the project at hand. In all those years of my childhood, sitting in the garage watching my dad work, I don't recall ever talking with him about how knots were formed. We may have had that conversation but it probably escaped me because this is how I saw a knot:
I would venture to say that most people would visualize a knot this way. At some point along my journey I learned that knots formed where branches were attached to the tree. Once my kids started asking questions about the strange circles in the wood on the shed I passed on my knowledge. But a flat board makes a somewhat abstract representation of a tree.
One day this last fall I was splitting wood and found some interesting knots. They split apart and went right back together like a puzzle.
I called the kids over and they had a great time fitting the pieces together and looking at the bark side to see where the branch would have come out of the tree had it still been attached.
Now that spring is here we are finding new growth all around.
As I was looking back at some old pictures I realized that we have been looking at trees for a long time. This picture of my son looking up at the small oak tree in our backyard is from two years ago.
This brings home the idea that with each passing year, with each season that goes by, they are adding new layers of knowledge about the natural world. Their understanding of how things work is branching out and taking root, building upon each experience, like new branches build upon the old growth.
Next month I am taking the kids to visit my parents in Colorado. My dad has plans to build some wonderful wooden toys with them. They are excited and I am sure will come away with another layer of knowledge about wood and trees from the woodworkers perspective, just as I had as a child.
Are there any nature topics your family comes back to again and again, building knowledge with each visit? We would love to hear about them.