Earth Day: A Barrel of Life


In the forest an oak tree silently grows to serve the long tradition of the Native Spirit. The sprouting structure of nature bares an accumulation of riches; savory flavors of butterscotch, caramel, citrus, honey and even vanilla are sewn into the layers of its trunk. Once the adolescent limbs have grown into a perennial tower, the trunk is split into individual staves. Thirty-two separate strips of beautifully clean wood work collectivity as one, uniting into a single cask. A touch of fire climbs through inside of the cask. The light presence of oak transforms into a wall of dark char. The new formation of the oak tree intimately houses fresh grains from a farmer’s land, water from a nearby spring and the dedicated sweat from assiduous folks. Bourbon begins seeping through the toasted layer as boys measure the strength of their arms on the diamond, and dogs pray for a shady spot. And when masks of ghosts and monsters become holiday, and we dance on on the memories of warmth by slipping on ice, the delicious wood grains fall out of place. A straight journey of two years commits repetition. Some stride the long walk through the forest–wandering for 23 years until the two-inch hole of the barrel inhales the fresh air of its maturing brothers and sisters. The house is empty. Damp remnants settle at the base as an aroma of celebration and companionship exudes through the staves. The tree from the forest provided its life for the person whom holds their drink in the company absence of whispers but abundant in laughs.

jake hukee