About ten yards off shore from the
side of the river nearest the house, and easily seen directly opposite
the second floor deck, is this naturally diminutive Grandmother
Tree. It stands alone,
regal and upright - a stark apparition of treeness. The living
trees all gather on the shores of
the river, but this Grandmother Tree sits in the river itself, as if it
has been there from some distant time when the river was small,
frisky and young. At the base of the Grandmother Tree is a
collection of driftwood that has accumulated over the years after
flowing downriver and getting caught there; or, having been put there
by the local beaver who often is seen playing at the base of the
Tree. Birds land not infrequently in the Grandmother Tree as
they cross the river, as if stopping by to say a brief hello.
is a Dove that on occasion sits there about half way up the Tree,
preening for as much as an hour at a time.
The next views are from the second floor deck. We can only
notice the Grandmother Tree in these shots by focusing on the base of
the tree that sits in the river and is surrounded by driftwood.
During the summer there are sometimes green leaves that grow at the
base. In the winter She stands out more, because all the
trees are without leaves at that time. Only in the spring and
summer and fall does She alone remain proudly clothed in the bare
essentials of Her
stark and unadorned form.
We can have the idea that nature does not possess a mind, such as we
do. This is a difficult view to maintain when we sit
and contemplate the river from the yard or the second floor deck.
It is just that this nature-mind is mostly quiet and still, and when it
thoughts the birds fly by, for the flight of birds is
nature-thinking. Nature-mind is whole -
undifferentialted. The Grandmother Tree is not separate and
individual as are we, but rather a modest locus - one of many centers -
of something deep and vast and joined to eternity. Our minds
seem to us to be separate and are full of rushing and striving,
while the nature-mind just is. Its becomings and doings live by
the slow rhythms of the Seasons, and its moods are changes of light and
color as the sun
moves daily across the sky, or when the clouds darken and nature-mind
relieves Her sorrows in the rain. To live at River House is
to discover, slowly and surely, how to once again be at One with Nature.
Here is Emerson, one of the wisemen of Concord: Nature is a thought incarnate that turns
to thought again as ice becomes water and then gas. The
world is mind precipitated, and the volitile essence is forever
escaping into the state of free thought.
the diminutive Grandmother Tree in the
Fall (a gray apparition of power and grace)
and the Assabet River at flood, as it spreads out two or three hundred
yards into the across the river wilds,
which floods never bother River House itself, joined as it is to the
love and protection of the Grandmother Tree.
Waters flow and the Fire of light
streams in plays of color. The Air too moves and dances the
leaves of trees. Yet trees themselves are of the Earth, and their
trunks and branches are the power of the Earth itself rising into the
light. This living earth skeleton of trunk and limb then serves
the green world, becoming seat and home to an infinity of leaves, whose
passion in the Spring is only outshown by the Brightness of their Fall
into sacrifice to the forest floor at the first hints of Winter.
Though the leaves pass away yearly, the trunk and limbs of ancient tree
wisdom seem never to succumb to gravity and are always devoted to the
light and the Sun. Once more - the diminutive Grandmother
Tree in Fall ...