Thursday, November 13, 2008


EXALTATION


Yesterday morning I was over on the other land clearing up the last of the new firewood, my eyes looking at the maul and wedge, the grain of the oak sections I was manhandling or among the downed branches for limbs of worthwhile size, hunched over and gazing downward all the time, without thought, rapt in the mu of continuous and autofocused labor, when for a break while edging my way through downed branches I stretched, looked up and there beheld, rising into the blue, all the gold of the tall old ginkgo tree that stands beside the pond, arms spread wide as though reaching to embrace the sky, reveling in existence like an exulting dancer covered in golden feathers tingling in the air--

All that bright and sudden yellow alone amid the evergreens-- it stopped me in my tracks, snatched my emptied mind from mundane tasks and filled it to the brim with things that made me reach for understanding, comprehensions beyond the brackets of my life and its reaches, it was splendid to stand there, as if new, before such living beauty, beauty offered without reward. This was a wild ginkgo, in its native autumnal costume.

Perhaps the most anciently originating tree species surviving today - a living fossil in fact - ginkgo [from the Japanese gin (silver) + kyo (apricot)] must have been showing their gold to empty air, in the eons before we humans came along with our burgeoning capacity to enjoy-- and that's where it hit me, right in that capacity. It wasn't art, it wasn't scenery, it was just a tree but more, arms reaching for heaven just as ours still do in the reflex of high emotion, an ancient stance for both tree and man-- I just stood there and looked at it long where it stood, a single yellow tree against the dark green mountains, but what a gift to a tired man, a break from labor, an opening of mind, an exchange of languages ancient before my time...

It was almost as though the ginkgo had been standing there quietly all along, holding its pose, waiting-- somebody's gonna look up any minute-- wait-- wait--- now: there, he's turning: ta-DA!! It was like that, it was a communication that happened, I don't know why or how, and likely never will, but the ginkgo was telling me in unmistakable terms about humans, color, dance, trees, art, time, knowledge, thought, communication, history, life, patience, it's a long list, and just days from now that golden gift of leaves will all be fallen. I have to go back again. Why does this tree want to tell me so much?

2 comments:

Joy Des Jardins said...

That truly is beautiful Bob. Thank you.

Bob Brady said...

Thank you, too, Joy; you're more than welcome... But it's really the tree's doing...