Good morning. Today is nonidi, the 9th of Brumaire, Year CCXXXI. We celebrate l'alisier, a service tree that has extremely prized hardwood.
We've been living in light lately. All the vegetables and flowers of the past few weeks have been either sun-facing or sun-hungry, which is an interesting choice for the plants that come to fruition in the dying light of autumn. Of all these, however, none hungers for the light more than the rare and highly prized checker tree.
Sometimes called the "wild" service tree – or misidentified as a Swiss pear or mountain ash or rowan – Sorbus torminalis has a hardwood so strong, smooth, pliable, and beautiful that its wood was often drawn as being rainbow colored in medieval books.
Now it's endangered across much of its native range in Northern Europe, but despite the high price its wood fetches it's not because of over-harvesting. It's kind of because we're underharvesting everything else.