We were two days from civilization, hiking north through the narrow and rocky Kern Canyon, arrow-straight and carved from the powerful, churning river that roared beside us. We couldn’t see above the walls of the canyon, but if we could, we’d see the skyline jagged and torn by the rough-hewn Sierra peaks cradling the remains of the winter’s snow in their cirques. We set our packs down beside the river to rest, and before us, sitting on the bank, was a tree in the shape of an English oak but leafless and steel. There was grain, roots and branches, but if it was alive, it would remain so forever, protected from the human hand. A heart of wood, but bark of steel.
A simple ring: titanium body with an inlay of wood cut from a barrel used to age Jack Daniels whiskey. It’s a ring for a craftsman, a ring for an artisan. The man who wears this ring understands the beauty in simplicity, the art of subtlety. He needs a ring that will catch the eye, but one that still represents him in all his forms and one durable enough to keep up with his rough lifestyle. It’s in the pocket of his faded jeans until the saw is turned off and his safety goggles are removed. Then it’s back on, sliding over his calloused, dirty fingers.
Deep in the woods of the Appalachians, somewhere hidden away on the slopes of Mount LeConte above Gatlinburg, there’s a single-room distillery. Just a few big copper stills in a cinderblock room, and along the walls are dozens of barrels aging its sweet nectars. The proprietor is a hearty man with a leather smock, a carefully curated beard, and eyes that glisten with a genuine passion for his art. Ask him for his secret, and he’ll tell you that the wood is everything. And the wood is everything.
The prized Hawaiian Koa, the sacred wood of the ancient Polynesian dugout canoes, their earthly companion as they explored the furthest reaches of the Pacific in search of the luxurious and prosperous insular rainforests. The koa was the monarch of those ancient forests, prized now for its sturdiness, fine grain, and beautiful red color. This wood is the heart of exploration, of adventure, and of the endless pursuit of prosperity.