am the MIGHTY OAK. King of the forest! All other trees
of the forest look to me for leadership. I am a self proclaimed
leader of the hardwoods. I grow tall and proud, the last
tree of the forest to shed my leaves for the cold winter
and the last to blossom leaves in the spring. My roots burrow
deeply downward to provide a powerful support base. In strong
winds I bend and sway, for my trunk and branches have immense
flexibility. And in the windless and calm still days, I tower
toward the heavens.
I am home to many of God's creatures. My nuts provide food
for the squirrels and chipmunks of the forest as well as
seedlings to continue my heritage. My leaves provide nutrients
to the forest floor and conceal the bird's nests that get
woven in and amongst my branches. I have many species. Mostly
I am known as Red Oak, White Oak and lesser known is Black
Oak. My types of species are much more diverse. I can be
found on 5 continents through out the world.
I have been used for building ships, homes, businesses and
furniture. I am probably the most desired wood of all. My
grain accepts stains well for custom finishes. It is my hardness
that makes me preferred for many roles. I resist scratches,
dents and telltale wear signs. This makes me very suitable
With my ability to flex, I can be bent into sloping and
curved pieces for chairs, tabletops and mirrors. My strength
can be counted on for any type of furniture imaginable.
As I look out upon my future, I can become anything, with
everlasting beauty. I did not for see being used as a pallet
for moving, storing and shipping materials. It was painful
to learn that my strength was sought after for uses other
than fine furniture. As a pallet, I learned that I am expendable.
I spent over a decade carrying all types of products, from
auto parts to toys, from grocery items to steel coils. I
have been stacked in warehouses for years at a time. I have
been left outside on loading docks. I have been drenched
in rainstorms, frozen and coated with heavy snowfall and
have been baked in the hot summer sun. I have seen and lived
it all. My life as a pallet, mirrored my life in the forest,
a survivor of all seasons. Missing from my life was the value
as being King of the forest, an everlasting role.
Recently, I was placed at a curb along with other pallets,
adorned with a sign. Free Wood. This placement meant that
I was nearing the end of my journey. I hold no shame, but
I do harbor a bit of uncertainty. Sometimes, "Free Wood" means
that I may get reused as a pallet, extending my useful life.
Other times, I could cut into pieces and burned for home
heating. If left unclaimed, my future will be in a landfill.
On this particular day, Gods will bestowed upon me eternity,
for I was rescued by a wood working enthusiast. He examined
me, studying to see if I was showing enough grain to be identified.
I was carefully disassembled, cut into 3' sections, sawed
and planed to ½" widths, stacked and stored. All the
dirt, grime and oil that coated me had been removed. Some
of this grime soaked in ¼". I was stacked neatly with
other pieces of rescued hard wood. I was amongst other pieces
of my Oak family. In this workshop there were shelves of
other rescued wood. Maple was in the end racks. Mahogany
was stored on the top shelf. Cherry was stored right next
to me. Over the next few weeks, more pieces of wood would
come into the shop.
Eventually, the pieces of Oak in my pile were removed from
the shelf. I was placed on the worktable, and aligned side
by side. In the next few days we were glued together, sanded
smooth and assembled. My form and future were taking shape.
I was going to be a file cabinet. This cabinet was special.
It was being made specifically for a person that liked my
natural finish, for my species is White Oak. My grain had
been stained for the last time. My natural beauty would show
Today is my shipping day. My drawers glide effortlessly
on rollers. The pull handles are made out of other Oak family
members. The interior drawer boxes are precisely built from
Oak and Maple. We look good side by side. The cabinet levelers
have me square and level to the floor. I am getting anchored
to a shipping platform and covered with heavy durable cardboard.
It is nice to be treated with such respect and honor. A shipping
label is being applied. Where am I going? What is my final
I am attached to a pallet, strapped down securely and placed
onto a tractor-trailer for delivery. Imagine, just a few
months ago I was on the bottom. I had a feeling of importance,
being carried, rather that carrying the load. If I could
just communicate to my carrier pallet that hard work pays
off, and that being in the right place in the right time
makes all the difference. The truck rumbles off, my final
destination still unknown.
After a long day, I am off loaded in a terminal for my next
transfer. Just like old times, only now I have shipping orders
and I am a line item on a bill of lading. I'm being moved
to the south corner of the Terminal and placed with other
items heading in my direction. I'll be part of a trailer
load going south. Florida? Georgia? The Carolina's?
Louisiana. Yes, Louisiana. Lake Charles, Louisiana, to be
exact. I'm being driven downtown in a small step van, backed
up to a loading dock, and pulled inside. I'm going to the
5th floor on the freight elevator and moved into an office.
I'm going into a Law office! No, it's an Insurance claim
office. All the other furniture around me is steel, fiberboard
wood and plastic type stuff. I don't feel at home. When my
packaging was removed, I was carried into the Directors office
and placed next to the Oak desk. We're the same height. The
entire room was filled other quality hardwood furnishings.
I was starting to feel right at home. My new owner ran her
hands over my exterior, examining my finish and checking
the seams. She pulled open each of my drawers and inspected
me. I enjoy being admired like this, and her soft caressing
hands felt soooo good. My story was in the top drawer. She
paused a moment, briefly glanced at me and put me back, probably
planning to read about me later.
I have gone Full Circle. Before you now, my natural beauty
has been skillfully captured. I will turn slightly darker
over time, every so slightly. Simply care for me as you would
care for any other hardwoods in your home or office. Please,
share my story with other people and invite them to visit
me and other works from my Craftsman Creator at our web site;
2 Drawer File Cabinet, White Oak