I love wood or mistik. I must be part beaver or amisk because I am always wrapped up in projects where wood is the main ingredient.

Trees, of course, are an enormous contributor to our life on this planet and my people have great respect for these tough and often towering giants on the land. From the dawn of time trees have provided humans with warmth though fire and comfort and protection from the elements.

Now that I am living much of the year in a remote area I am reminded of just how important wood is as I heat my home with it. I do my best to harvest trees that have to be cut on my property because they are diseased or past their prime and I also find that dead trees in cut over areas are perfect for my heating needs. These days I am using the chainsaw often to cut tree lengths into smaller logs and then I split these into half or quarter pieces to store so they will dry.

I find that birch and pine are my favourite wood for burning, but most of the time I have a big supply of poplar, which requires more work to get a good fire going. We take for granted our energy luxuries like the gas, oil and electricity that power our world every day. When these items are not at hand or so easy to get then life becomes much more of a challenge. I find it is healthy to spend time in remote areas as it is a big reminder of just how important our technologies and resources are. It is also a time where I can get back to nature and connect with Mother Earth.

This past year I have been doing a lot of renovations and working with wood. I am always amazed that we have such abundance of wood at reasonable prices. For instance, a four-by-eight-foot, half-inch thick sheet of aspenite or OSB is about the same cost as a club sandwich. As long as this type of wood is protected by paint, tile or some type of siding it will last for a very long time. It is only problematic in the sun and rain as it decays rapidly when not protected. Plywood, two-by-fours and two-by-sixes are all favourites of mine to work with.

When I travel in other parts of the world it becomes obvious to me quickly that wood is a very scarce commodity. Most buildings in much of Europe are constructed of cement or stone. Wood is used for trimming and accents. I have spent time in these houses and apartments in winter months and it felt like I was living in a cave. There is nothing as comfortable and as cozy as a home constructed of wood.

The Europeans and many other peoples of the world over-harvested and destroyed their forests many decades ago. In North America it has been different in that we have not had the time to deplete our forests and we also live in a more civilized era. We owe a lot to our scientists, forestry experts and environmentalists so that we are more concerned with the wellbeing of our forests. We now have reforestation projects to replenish our forests after harvesting. We also have a lot of forestry rules to abide by that produce a more positive outcome in the long term. Our own survival on this planet is directly connected to how we treat all life on earth and trees are a very important part of our existence. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the air and generate oxygen. Without them we would not be able to survive.

As I travel in the north, I am always amazed at the vast towering forests of pine, poplar and birch. We have much to be thankful for as northerners right across Canada as our forests are still healthy to a great degree. However, we must continue to make sure to elect governments that understand what it means to plan for the long term and future generations. We can only do this by having respect for the good earth we live upon, as the results will enable us to carry on with our species and contribute to a blossoming of this great living planet rather than its destruction.