Wood speaks to Dennis Stoffer.
"The wood tells me what to do," said Stoffer, 38, a carver and lifelong Carson City resident. "I see a picture in the wood, and I just start going. It comes out beautifully."
Lately, he's been talking to a piece of acacia, an almost impenetrably dense wood from the Phillipines.
"I collect wood from everywhere I go so that will add to it. And I will also include barbed wire so that people can't mess with it."
Stoffer created a 4-foot eagle sculpture that was unveiled Thursday in the dedication of Eagle Station, Carson City's first settlement.
Glenbrook Co., which develops high-end real estate, stands near the original settlement location on the corner of Fifth and Thompson streets, according to Glenbrook president and city supervisor Shelly Aldean.
"My admonition to Stoffer was, bring me back something that would be appropriate for this location and, true to his word, that's what he did," Aldean said.
The eagle sculpture is on a 10-foot cottonwood stump.
It took Stoffer about four months to complete the eagle. Its intricate design includes the feathers' texture.
Stoffer also constructed a nest of barbed wire so that his sculpture will be protected.
"I am adding the nest to the tree because it is more realistic," he said.
Glenbrook is the property owner, but did not actually commission the sculpture, said Aldean.
"I had a conversation with the artist, and then he showed up on my doorstep with a gorgeous wood sculpture."
In Glenbrook's office is a brass plaque that tells the history of the station.
According to the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, in 1851, Eagle Station was a trading post and small ranch for gold prospectors on the California Emigrant Trail. The station got its name when Frank Hall, an early settler, shot an eagle and mounted it on the wall.
In 1858, Abraham Curry, one of the founders of Carson City, bought Eagle Station and left a 10-acre plaza in the city's center for what he predicted would be the location of the state capital.
Stoffer has been in business for a year and sells his creations along roads at Lake Tahoe.
He said the eagle's unveiling will be his breakthrough event.
"For me, it was a personal event. I've been trying to get an eagle on this tree since the day the tree was cut. When it was just a stump, the tree called me," Stoffer said.