As in Aikido practice, where we receive the energy offered by our partner as a part of our movement, so a woodworker is sensitive to the energy offered by the wood selected. Hardwood has a different strength than softwood and each is appropriate for different functions. Possibly the tools used would change depending on the nature of the wood being selected.
An analysis of the function that the material has to perform makes us step back to a larger view of the project. Does a tree get planted because it will bear fruit? Or, is it's function to break the wind, to create shade, or to provide a visual barrier? Once a question is posed, countless more follow.
But perhaps the most important concern is the overall design; the right place to begin. Here the interplay of form and function are considered: natural materials are not static; stones, wood, water, earth are always in movement. Stones are heavy and, placed well, they will ground a design; but, put in the way of strong water flows stones may move out of position. Where different elements meet needs special planning; stone and wood can be used to form a strong and beautiful wall or they can collide in the natural expansion and contraction of weather to weaken and ultimately destroy the power and beauty of the wall's design.
A designer has much to consider. The more sensitive a designer is to the power of the materials available, the more powerful and beautiful the design. For, using what is offered by nature to its fullest is to be receptive to what-is and that form of respect highlights in the final form the uniqueness and energy that nature offers.
The natural movement of nature is a spiral movement. Aikido is based on the spiral in nature and so observing nature provides another opportunity to learn.