it strikes me as an anomaly that we should highly prize furniture made with burlwood. george nakashima, american architect turned furniture maker, was famous for his inclusion of this type of wood in his designs.
not the graceful elven tree forms forms we expect. they remind you of the hunchback of notre dame. yet when sliced or carefully detached from the normal wood (this takes a lot of work and care because of the twisted, hardened nature of the burl) the veneer, the table tops, or the naturally sculpted forms that emerge are rare treasures.
why is this not the case with people? we shun abnormal people. we stare at and then pull back from people with scars or injuries. we do not relish visits to hospitals and nursing homes. our tv screens are filled with the beautifully perfect people only. our tv news anchors are the ken and barbie dolls we love.
yet my experience is that there is a deep strength and beauty in the hearts of the not normal. i would rather their company than many more outwardly perfect people i know. nakashima had a soft heart for the suffering. i suspect he had suffered himself at some points in his life. maybe this explains his long successful work with not normal wood.