I think we all might need to take the time to go outside and appreciate the simple beauty of an old oak tree, with brand new leaves. Controversy can wait until tomorrow.
Mr. Lauridsen may be the only internationally recognized composer who worked on a hotshot crew and as a fire lookout for the Forest Service.
A native of the Pacific Northwest, Lauridsen worked as a Forest Service firefighter and lookout (on an isolated tower near Mt. St. Helens) before traveling south to study composition at the University of Southern California with Ingolf Dahl, Halsey Stevens, Robert Linn, and Harold Owen  He began teaching at USC in 1967 and has been on their faculty ever since. (Wikipedia here)
I believe I read somewhere that his father was also a Forest Service employee.
Referring to Lauridsen’s sacred music, the musicologist and conductor Nick Strimple said he was “the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic, (whose) probing, serene work contains an elusive and indefinable ingredient which leaves the impression that all the questions have been answered ..
And from this article in the Salt Lake Tribune:
It was in the process of making the documentary, which premiered in 2012, that Stillwater discovered the roots of Lauridsen’s inspiration: solitude, being in nature, silence. “It is out of that deep, peaceful beauty of nature where he lives part of his life, that this gorgeous music is heard inside of his being and then comes out,” the filmmaker said.
“I believe that anyone who has some relationship to nature, and the beauty of nature, the silence of nature — who has some relationship to music more in the classical style — will discover a new musical friend, companion and treasure in meeting Lauridsen’s music. It’s a wonderful discovery to make for somebody who doesn’t know anything about him.”
Here is a video of Lauridsen talking about his hotshot and fire lookout experience.
Sometimes I think I can hear the Pacific Northwest, wet dripping from Douglas fir, gray skies, in his music.. my favorites are available on Youtube:
The U.S. Forest Service announces today that they have teamed up with Hollywood to build the first “100 percent sustainable studio set.”
The Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory teamed up to help create a hotel room for a two part episode of the show ‘Raising Hope.’
According to the release, the Hollywood set consists of “100 percent, USDA-certified bio-based and made with 100 percent cellulose fibers including post-consumer paper, wood and agricultural raw material sources” and “no toxic additives or adhesives.”
“Raising Hope” art director John Zachary is thrilled. “The ongoing use of tropical hardwoods in set construction is an environmental tragedy and this experiment provided a cost-efficient alternative to unsustainable forest products,” he said in the release.
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The team used “environmentally friendly paint, wallpaper, glue and carpet” during production.
The Forest Service Laboratory teamed up with ECOR Global to coordinate the program which shipped panels built at the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wis. to San Diego.
“The collaboration between the Forest Products Laboratory and ECOR Global is a perfect example of how government and industry can work together to meet society’s needs,” says laboratory engineer John Hunt. “By combining our unique capabilities, we were able to turn research results into tangible products.”
It is especially so, in a profession like forestry, that some of us get a chance to reflect on what has happened, and what might happen. Some of us find other ways of being outdoors and enjoying nature. My winter “data collection” involves sampling, organizing and capturing millions of scenic “data points” in a pleasing manner. Sometimes one has an entire winter to look at a problem from a new point of view than they had before. Being more moderate, I keep and cultivate an open mind, welcoming new points of view to scrutinize. Anyone who said that collaboration, consensus and compromise would be easy and painless was lying to you. Like in photography, scientific studies can use composition, depth of field and field of view to adjust what the viewer sees, and doesn’t see. A telephoto lens and a polarizing filter can dramatically affect what you want the viewer to see.
My young nephew called and invited me to take the extra bed in his Yosemite Lodge room. I hustled to get down there and we enjoyed a nice dinner, after I made Isaac and his friend some potent “Snugglers”. The three of us skied at Badger Pass, with glorious conditions the next day. The last morning, I took them to this secret spot along the Merced River. I never fail to get great pictures at this little-known spot, and I greedily sucked up more than my share of nice shots.
Larry Harrell has generously agreed to post posts others might contribute, and to approve comments while I am gone on a Solstice break from December 22nd until January 4th or so. Contributions are encouraged. While you are contemplating your own Yule log, perhaps you could jot down some ideas for posting?
The Yule log is a large log that is burned in the hearth as part of a Yule, or Christmas, celebration or with Winter Solstice festivals. “Yule log” may also refer to log-shaped Christmas cakes.
Historically, the Yule log tradition may have included an entire tree or the largest log available to be burned in the fire hearth. Historians believe the tradition was derived from pagan worship rites, representations of health and fertility, rituals asking for blessings and protection, festivals celebrating the winter solstice, or was simply for decoration and practical use.
Some traditions included starting the Yule log fire with the remnant of the previous year’s log, to bring prosperity and protection from evil. After the celebration, pieces of the Yule log would be saved to start the fire of next winter’s solstice Yule log. In some European traditions, oak was the preferred species for the Yule log, as it represented the waxing sun, symbolized endurance, strength, protection, and good luck to people in the coming year.
From Larry Stritch’s Forest Service site on Plants of the Winter Solstice, worth taking a look at here.
Best wishes to you and yours from all of us here at NCFP!
Here. Found on the SAF Twitter feed. thanks!
Escape from the controversies, if even for a few minutes, to stare, and maybe be transported to this location. Fall was a welcome pleasure there.
From the Sumter National Forest, in the South Carolina “Piedmont”, in full resolution. Click on the picture and enjoy
Here’s an article about Montanans from Rob Chaney of the Missoulian.
Right now, though, I am heading home and have a bunch of other backed up pieces. But for now, here’s to the young people- foresters and others, and all those responsible for our mutual future. The young foresters I met this week were amazing- with incredible energy, positive spirits and competence.
What is it that they can do? Figure it out; how to provide a good environment, jobs, and responsible use of our resources to provide for the needs of society. There is a good Rosemary Radford Ruether (the ecofeminist theologian) quote that I can find when I get home). Something about harmony (shades of NEPA..) and a celebratory culture.
Donnie McClurkin was my background music for the week.. so here’s a musical affirmation for those folks called “Yes You Can”. I was listening to Donnie’s album “Again” on my IPod. So I looked for a Youtube to share, and Serendipitously the first one that came up featured a tree.
Here it is:
During my recent trip to SW Utah, I was fascinated by the old and large cottonwoods in the canyon bottoms. While they do have good fall color, I was more mesmerized by the hypnotic bark patterns.
A close-up of the bark reveals such interesting patterns to something thought to be more random in nature. This old tree had fallen from last year’s big floods, a completely normal thing for Zion Canyon. It’s truly amazing that cottonwoods can resist so many flash floods over an 80-120 year lifespan. Of course, there could be “micro-evolution” at work here, in this specialized environment of Zion Canyon.
In these narrow slot canyons, only those trees with the strongest roots can withstand the debris torrents that reshape channels and move boulders, like this one lodged under the huge, water-altered cottonwood branch. To the right of this tree is a house-sized boulder. To the left, outside of view, is another giant boulder. Up the canyon is a giant, super-narrow slot canyon, which drains a substantial watershed of solid bedrock. What an awesome experience it would be to find a safe spot to watch a flash flood here.
To see my recent pictures from SW Utah, go here