Friday, August 08, 2008

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
--Greek proverb

We have this lovely little circle of ground in the back yard now, devoid of all big stones and ready for a layer of top soil and good fine manure, thanks to a grandson's youthful vigor and generous spirit.

Let me tell you, before the story commences, of the wonderful experience of removing the rocks and stones, and the time it took to examine each interesting and beautiful stone that has lain here undisturbed since the great upheaval that left the land in the Similkameen with a huge, enormous glacier pressed to its bosom. The little basketful that we selected from the hundreds and hundreds that caught our eyes are destined to sit in a quiet place where they can be examined and wondered at over and over.

And what shall we do with the lovely little circle of ground, once it is layered with top soil and manure?

Husband has claimed the ground beside it for a place to park The Tractor, and besides his fascination with the planting of trees, he yearns in his soul for the shade of a large and leafy tree to provide shelter from the hot summer sun while he and The Tractor commune, and he tinkers with the beloved's aging innards.

As I age
in the world it will rise and spread,
and be for this place horizon
and orison, the voice of its winds.
I have made myself a dream to dream
of its rising, that has gentled my nights.
Let me desire and wish well the life
these trees may live when I
no longer rise in the mornings
to be pleased with the green of them
shining, and their shadows on the ground,
and the sound of the wind in them.
- Wendell Berry,
Planting Trees

I can relate to his wishes, - I too love the sound of the wind in the trees, the rustle of the leaves, the play of the shadows and the comfort of its shade . I had envisioned a nice little flower bed to nourish the over flow from the front garden, but I can go with a tree, gladly. How pleasant it would be outside the kitchen window, - a resting place for little finches, and in the nighttime, quail.. Perhaps an Oriole would come and build an elegant swinging nest to live in. I haven't seen an Orioles nest since we left the farm....

Trees are the best monuments that a man can erect to his own memory. They speak his praises without flattery, and they are blessings to children yet unborn.- Lord Orrery, 1749

Husband has planted hundreds of trees, - the latest a lovely line of curly willow saplings that hugs the edge of the roadway leading to our home. In three years, or five years, they will be a sweet approach.

But the shade tree in the backyard is another matter - life is tenuous, and grows more so with age, so that if it is to be a shade tree I would like it to be an instant shade tree. I would like it to be tenderly and professionally transplanted into a spacious and well dug basin, so that as it is gently placed there it's roots will sigh and say, - ah, home at last, and will grow with vigor and vitality.

All it has experienced, tasted, suffered:
The course of years, generations of animals,
Oppression, recovery, friendship of sun and - Wind
Will pour forth each day in the song
Of its rustling foliage, in the friendly
Gesture of its gently swaying crown,
In the delicate sweet scent of resinous
Sap moistening the sleep-glued buds,
And the eternal game of lights and
Shadows it plays with itself, content.
- Herman Hesse, 1877 - 1962

In the meantime, the fate of the lovely little circle is a subject for discussion, and I leave you with one last observation....

Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer
is perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible
exception of a moose singing "Embraceable You" in spats.
- Woody Allen

Well, perhaps I will add just one more.....

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars...
and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence
is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason;
they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are
not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance.
Look at the flowers - for no reason. It is simply unbelievable
how happy flowers are.

- Osho


1 comment:

Nicola said...

A heartfelt 'Thank You' for sharing your thoughts and photographs with us day by day! Thank you for your insights and your gentle humour. You are an inspiration to me.
Much love,
Nicola