Wood is probably my most favorite reading we have done so far. I am fascinated by the mystery of it all and the many ways it can be interpreted. I think what I love the most is how the woods are so present in many fairytales I have known since a young age yet I have never thought much into it. Now I see the consistency in each story and how the forest usually symbols a dark, scary, and unknown place. Some examples that come to mind right away include Into the Woods, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel.
I think it is hard to say whether or not the Taoists were correct in their theory about the uncarved block of wood but I definitely think it is an interesting thing to ponder. They believe the block is meant to symbolize our most basic and original state of nature. It can be “carved” or left alone in the beauty it has. I think this is a creative analogy for our earth prior to the involvement of humans in the environment. If we were able to see earth “pre-humans” I think it would be a difficult thing for us to disturb. Picture a world with no streets, no buildings, no artificial lights, and no cars. It sounds beautiful. This is not to say our world now is not equally beautiful, it is just a different kind of beautiful. I think this is what the Taoists were getting at. The uncarved block of wood is beautiful on its own but it has the potential to be carved into something else that is beautiful. In the end, there really is no right answer.
Baucis and Philemon are the main characters of a classic tale. They are an old couple that when given a wish, Philemon wished the two of them would die in the same moment so they would never have to live without each other. When the did pass away, the were standing next to each other in a tight embrace and they turned into trees with their branches intertwined. In this case, these two people as trees symbolize their love as they are rooted into the ground and intertwined within each other. Trees are known to be present in the world for many years and to flourish on their own. They also serve as ties between generations and in this case, they represent the love of Baucis and Philemon living on past their time as humans on earth.