Conspicuous Skies


Perseus cluster (image by Ken Crawford, Rancho Del Sol Observatory)

I do my best to court coincidence, but would not consider myself superstitious. Like anyone, I just find it reassuring when cosmic events complement the task at hand and try to pay attention to patterns as they emerge. I did not plan to make the first, ceremonial cuts in my deodar cedar logs during the Perseid meteor showers this week, it just worked out that way.


grain of the freshly cut, deodar cedar

My head was literally in the clouds yesterday as I drove down the coast to Evan Shively’s mill, groggy from a night of star-gazing. I munched early apples from our Gravenstein along the way, and watched the whispy mares tails over Tomales Bay on a crystal clear afternoon, eager to meet my client and inspect the cedar logs. I’ve been commissioned to design the interior of a new guest house in Marin, which will feature the air-dried wood milled from over 7000 board feet of deodar cedar salvaged from the local urban forest.


I thought of Perseus slaying the Medusa as we watched Evan and his crew work in concert to finesse the massive logs onto the bed of the mill to cut the first cant of deodar for the project, the air infused with the wood’s sweet perfume.


detail from Perseus Rescues Andromeda, by Piero di Cosimo (1515)

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