What does Arbor Day have to do with your table? Well if you sup upon a wooden one, of course your table's story began with a tree. Pictured with this post is my very special antique gateleg table on the very day that I received it five years ago. My dear friends helped me move it and before we brought it into the house, we enjoyed tea alfresco upon it as we celebrated its new chapter. I remember being keenly aware that this table, possibly one-two hundred years old, was steeped in story and it was an honor to continue it.
The table came with remarkable clues. Not only was the table hand hewn, hand made without a single nail and 15 inch solid boards, but underneath I found a large J M woodburned into it and in pencil the following notes: Plymouth Table, restored in 1934 and refinished in 1972 with the names of the craftsmen recorded. Quite amazing. Although it is impossible to know any more details, it is fascinating to think about what forest the tree was hewn from, who JM was and to consider its story as it was shaped by hand into such a beautiful piece of fine furniture that became the centerpiece of its original home. Who sat around it? What meals were served upon it? What celebrations were marked? Whose feet wore away the lower rungs? What conversations were enjoyed upon it?
Your own table has a story to tell and one yet to be told. It has been the scene of many memorable meals and it has been graced by many friends and family. Be intentional about the stories that are yet to be told. Draw out wonderful conversation by asking great questions and make sure everyone has the opportunity to share their story. The table is the foremost place we connect as a family.
Since it is Arbor Day, why not ask some of these questions at your table today?
What is one of your favorite trees and why?
What important functions do trees uphold in our environment?
What have been important trees in history?
What items in your house have been made from trees?
* Read books about trees, children’s books, especially. “A Reverence for Wood” by Eric Sloane is a great one!
* Visit the National Park, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller estate in Woodstock Vermont to learn more about the fascinating history of tree conservation in New England. http://www.nps.gov/mabi/index.htm
* Have your children research interesting tree facts and share them at the table. For example, did you know that the seeds of the Giant Redwoods are the size of the tomato seed?
* Gather leaves and identify what trees they are from.
* Read or write a tree poem.
* Of course, plant a tree!
Enriching home and family life, especially at the Table