Yaku Sugi

from George Nakashima’s ‘The Soul Of a Tree’

The Yaku cedars have spent their lifetime witnessing the long and awesome march of generation after generation of the human race, the march of nation after nation. They have seen cultures, civilizations, one after another rise and fall. By human inspiration, or by sheer egotism, great cities were constructed, finally to return to dust. Some are no longer remembered even as names. Pataliputra flowered, the Chou became great; and Sanskrit, the greatest of all human tongues, recorded the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. Conquerers conquered, vast armies trudged across endless lands with the goal of domination. Men in unbelievable numbers died to impose their egos, while masses of humanity perished to defend themselves. Heroic monuments were built commemorating these events. Architecture, art, music and poetry flourished. Epic literature was written to describe these happenings. In the end, it all dies. Some thoughts, ideas and inspirations from earlier cultures are still with us, but there are few continuous threads throughout the history of man. The cedar of Yaku stands, and man’s petty turmoils wash about its feet. Throughout the millennia its life juices have flowed and will continue to flow, while our civilization goes to dust.

From George Nakashima’s The Soul of Tree: A Woodworker’s Reflections