The beauty of a knotty oak tree is different from that of a lovely flower. It is the rough beauty of an old soldier's face showing the traces of wind and sun, of harm and of victory, bearing the scars of bygone battles. It is different from the fragile, delicate beauty of a young girl which is evident to anyone at first sight. The beauty of an old and crippled tree is hidden unless perceived by the alert eye which is able to fancy or rather discern the hard trials of life the tree has ex perienced. Contemplating trees in this way is not much different from busying oneself with physiognomies, i.e. with the art of judging character from the features of the human face. Physiognomies is often considered a dubious science, but is prac ticed every day in human communication by everybody from early childhood to old age. Although we all are able to discern the angrily furrowed brow, the laughing crow's-feet below the eyes, the arrogant harsh lines around the nose, the hard narrow mouth, the gluttonous lip, and the secret eye of the silent ob server, we would never admit to rely on such seemingly doubtful methods.Vom Verlag:
Trees optimize their mechanical design by adaptive growth, and react by self-repair to loads disturbing their optimum mechanical state. Both, the rule of constant stresses and the rule of external load minimization essentially form the tree. Knowing these growth reactions, the fate of a tree can be concluded from its outer shape and from its tree rings (saw cuts) which reveal the loads the tree adapted to. The book teaches us to understand the body language of trees.
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