A natural rest

Oct. 24, 2013 @ 10:50 AM

On the road of life, we assume that we will walk, trudge and navigate our way through the various hills, curves,and dark places. Yet sometimes, it is necessary to sit and enjoy and breathe in the scenes in which we live or the walks we have taken.
Along highway 70, near Palmer’s Grove Church Road, Carol Staton is hoping people will find her handmade benches a proper place to rest.
When she opened Nature’s Way this past August, Staton began a journey to share her fondness of benches and also a manner to explore her passion with sharing nature with others. “They are called Also Leopold Benches,” says Staton, of the noted environmentalist.
Born in Maryland and educated at both Duke and UNC, where she received a master’s in business, Staton eventually made Charlotte her home, where she worked in the banking industry for 30 years. Upon moving to Hillsborough two years ago, Staton had wanted to use some of her professional experiences in writing grants.
“I attempted to grant write as a business; however it didn’t take off as I had planned,” Staton said. Staton is a creative writer, poet and had experiences in the copyright industry. Still, it was when she came to Hillsborough and then took a class at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens that Staton discovered an interest in benches of the Leopold style.
“Most people don’t know what bench style this is,” says Staton. Leopold was a nature writer and an early environmentalist. It is said that possessing a Leopold style bench says something about the owner; that they are consciously aware of the environment and appreciate the subtle art of sitting and being.
“I consider myself an environmentalist first and an artist second,” Staton said. When she began making benches, early prototypes were sold at the Raleigh flea market. “I had great interest and learned from those designs, where the benches needed to be tweaked,” Staton said.
The materials for Staton’s benches follow her passion as one who appreciates and respects the environment. “The wood is reclaimed. Literally, some of it comes from unusual sources and some comes from renovation projects,” Staton said.
Everything is thought out, down to the type of paint that is applied. “I wanted to be aware of the impact that paint and other products have on the environment, so I researched and decided to use milk-based paint. This kind of paint is better than latex, in that milk-based forms deeper bonds with the porous surfaces of wood, where latex just sits on top.

The result is that these benches, naturally, have a distressed-shabby-chic look,” Staton said. In opening her store, Staton has discovered her mission to move her own passion of nature and education into other opportunities through her new-found business.
“I hope to eventually offer some classes that are in line with my interest in sharing nature and the world we live in with others,” says Staton. The parking lot and interior of her store is growing with locally created, locally acquired, or locally grown products that speak to Staton’s vision and her interest in the natural places of this world.
Her benches remind us that nature is strong and resilient and like the teachings of Leopold, that every living thing, plant or animal, has a distinct purpose. For those that appreciate nature and appreciate the idea that on the road of life it is also necessary to sit and watch and to just be, then these handcrafted benches by Carol Staton might serve as a proper resting place.
To enjoy the purity of nature or a natural scene from one of these benches is to appreciate the source and to also appreciate nature’s way.
Have a feature or story for Jason Hawkins; email him at hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com

Nature’s Way is on Facebook and http://natureswayshop.com
3006 U.S. Highway 70, Hillsborough, NC 27278
 Monday - Thursday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.; 
Friday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.; 
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; 
Sunday, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.