Immediately after moving into the one-acre wood, this creature stood out amongst the white spruce trees:

The staff in the ground
The staff in the ground

Some may see a tree whose fate was to be strangled by strings of popcorn, cranberries, and LED lights. I saw a welcoming gift from the forest, a staff, with a beautiful root head. But I tugged and it wouldn’t budge.

Over a year later I thought of my staff in the woods again and had a feeling now was the time. I tugged it again, and like Arthur’s Excalibur, it dislodged for me.

A wild white spruce staff
A wild white spruce staff
Peeling a skinny white spruce trunk
Peeling the trunk and roots

Pardon the mess. There’s not much floor space in the little cabin in the woods. While a sticky job, peeling off the bark of the trunk was an easy task. Peeling the roots was somewhat fussy, so I ended up cutting off all the small ones and lopping the larger where they thinned. To truly make it look like Gandalfs, it would need the rest of the roots removed and some serious carving in that knothead to reestablish the rooty look in his whirly style. But I liked it as is.

As the wood dried out it developed a few hairline cracks but the staff remains intact and useable. These could be filled in with matching wood filler or a mix of sawdust and glue.

A white spruce staff
After being sanded down and coated with hemp oil

While a little on the heavy side, I sometimes take it on hikes as a walking stick. I probably look a little strange with it, especially without the grey pointy hat, robes, and beard.

It doesn’t have the glimmering will-o’-wisp in its roots like Gandalfs. But we make up for it in owls hidden throughout the grain:

Owls in white spruce grain
Owls in white spruce grain, and I think I see a great blue heron also, do you?

With its knobby root head and weight, it might make a good lion whacker if a cougar decided to leap on me. Not that I’ve ever heard of a single lion attacking someone around Haliburton. The same goes for orcs, goblins, and Uruk-hai.

Now I’m waiting for one of my black cherry trees to drop a suitable, lighter branch for a walking stick. Dear Nature, I would also like to finally see a crossbill this year! Please make 2020 the year of a black cherry branch and crossbills galore! The white spruce “Bird” staff will always be special to me and I hope it inspires you to find a wild staff of your own making.

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