Watching People Harvest Cork Makes Me Feel So Satisfied

Photo: Luis Viegas/Shutterstock

The internet didn't intentionally invent the idea of tickling your brain by seeing things get perfectly peeled, scooped, pulled or stripped. Yet, there are whole Youtube channels dedicated to things that fit perfectly, people breaking the pristine surface of a jar of peanut butter, people peeling the thin plastic sheet that covers most electronics. Comments on these videos are part of a shared sense of deep satisfaction, and you can find some of the most mutually joyful, least acrimonious interactions on the internet among people who are just eveling in that feeling of deep gratification. 

So, in the interests of a more joyful, more satisfied world, I'm putting in my bid for the single most satisfying thing to watch, something more satisfying than everything else: the stripping of cork oaks. Now, the cork oak is an amazing tree. It is a tree whose bark can be harvested from mature trees every 7-10 years. That's where we get all of the cork we use in the world.

Photo: VanoVasaio/Shutterstock

What's even more exceptional is that this stripping of the trees actually makes them healthier and heartier, so it is a renewable resource. It is so important to the economies of places like Portugal, Southern Spain and North Africa that the trees are protected from being cut down until they are past their fruitful years. 

The way you get this cork bark off the tree is where things get satisfying. If you get that sense of relief and fulfillment watching someone peel an apple in one strip or pulling the wrapping off of high-sheen plastic, watching someone dismantle the bark from one of these trees with the specialized axe/lever mixes the feeling of satisfaction with marveling at someone with serious skills. Case in point:

Once you get the idea of what they are up to, the images offered by other harvesters are honestly amazing––a technique perfected to perfectly peel WHOLE, UPRIGHT TREES that has been happening for centuries. 
And on and on…


I could watch these for hours. And have.