There is something archaic in our memories about groves. Ancient Greeks allowed a priest to rule a grove until a more powerful candidate did away with him and assumed power. A bit harsh perhaps, but it assured a strong ruler. It also added to the mystic of the magic grove.
The grove at our farm at Wattensaw maintains that aura. People say they used to hold political rallies there and perhaps some civil war soldiers camped nearby. It was a spot along the infamous “Trail of Tears.” Hazel and her siblings passed through it on the way to school when they still lived some three miles away. She claims neither rain nor snow proved a deterrent.
They once held outdoor classes teaching local folks the art of canning under the shade of two huge oaks and near a long abandoned well. Both oaks are dead now. One has just about disappeared while the great gray branches of the other’s corpse still stands mute guard over The Grove.
After the family moved there, Hazel’s mother died from an accident occurring while she chopped wood. The father raised the five children, partly by making sorghum molasses in The Grove. They say he made and sold whiskey too, a claim supported by the remnants of an old still in the attic of the farmhouse.
Oh, and did I mention the artifacts? In all the years the farm has been occupied, very little that was brought there has ever left. Much of it rests it The Grove. Ancient wagon wheels, plows, harness attachments, and the like lie on or buried just below the surface of the ground. It would be an archeologists’ dream to excavate the various levels. We do from time to time.
Plans are to make a garden of the grove and attempt to maintain both its dignity and mystic. Who knows? We may even offer classes in canning.
A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. - John Muir
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