Archive for December 21st, 2022

Beginnings & Endings

GC Myers- Terminus sm

Terminus— Now at the West End Gallery

There is surely no greater wisdom than well to time the beginnings and endings of things.

–Francis Bacon, Of Delays, 1625

I tromped up through the woods yesterday. The snow wasn’t deep and it was cold enough to freeze up some of the boggier parts of the hillside so that I could wander through. It was something I hadn’t done for some time. Too long. Even though it’s only less than a quarter mile up in the woods, it seems like a world removed from the home and studio down below, which themselves often feel far removed from the world at the end of our long driveway.

It’s quieter than down below, the trees and the terrain muffling sound. The crunch of the snow underfoot is clean and clear. It’s a good sound.

With the snow on the ground and the leaves now gone, I could see deeper into the woods. I was able to better see the individual trunks and crowns of the trees. Some were like anonymous people in a crowd scene in a film, not really standing. While I could still appreciate their individual beauty, they didn’t stop my eye.

It was the bigger trees that jumped out at me, the beech and maples and the now dying ash trees that have been ravaged by the borer beetles. It made me think how loggers must look through the woods, their eyes measuring and taking in the shape of each tree until one large tree sets off their inner alarms. It made me wonder how my great-grandfather, who first set out into the Adirondack forests in 1872 with his own crew of loggers at the age of 17, would look through these woods. Would he simply see the trees as a form of income or would he look upon them as companions? After all, this was man who spent much of about 60 or so years in the deep woods in all sorts of weather conditions before the use of machinery.

It’s one of those times when you wish you had a way to spend a few minutes speaking with an ancestor.

As is always the case in nature, the forest reminds you of the beginnings and endings. The floor of the forest is littered with dead trees that have tumbled over in wetter and windier times or, in the case of the mighty ashes that have died from the damage of the beetles, rot then fall in large chunks until all that is left is the lower trunk of the tree. The remnant ash trunks are sometime twenty plus feet tall.

I am always a bit sad when seeing these dead trees who by virtue of location and environment didn’t last as long as they might have in other places. But even so, among their bony remains on the forest floor new saplings and young trees abound, all straining upward trying to lush their faces to the light.

It’s a reminder of the inborn desire to struggle and survive that is present in all species. We all desire to exist, to feel our faces in the sunlight of this world. But, as the forest points out, we all have beginnings and endings.

And that’s as it should be. How would we be able to appreciate this world, to see it as the gift it is, if we knew our time here was without end?

I don’t know the purpose of this essay. I simply started and this is what it ended up as. A beginning and an ending…

Here’s a song that is about beginnings. Not a holiday song. You most likely will get your fill of those everywhere else. Not to say I won’t play one or two in coming days but today let’s go with From the Beginning from Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

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