Rocks, trees and plants like to live in community. They are happy and feel protected when they are part of a group. There are some solitary exceptions. But when you think about it, even solitaries are seeking community – only, for them, it is discovering and harmonizing the community that makes up their own existence.
The universe is like that – a huge existence that works in community from the atomic level to the galactic level – and beyond, on both ends. Sometimes we have to work at harmonizing and integrating the parts that want to fight the community, or change the community, improve the community, or even destroy the community.
I love the lichen-covered rocks of New England. Sometimes they get together and create a painting. Here, right, is one they created showing the head of a small animal, lower right, that probably enjoyed the protection of that rock as some point of time. Acadia National Park, Maine.
Here’s group of red rocks in Bryce Canyon, Utah (below) that look like a scene from On the Waterfront. A group of brave rocks (center right) is confronting a spokesman and side kick (left) while groups of other rock beings watch on, going back into the distance.
On Mt Washington, NH – home of millions of powerfully alive granite rocks – humans and nature cooperated together in community to create cairns, which direct hikers through the desolate landscape (below).
A cairn represents a man standing at a position in nature and giving direction to the traveler of that area. This concept of a stolid, direction-providing stone man is common in many cultures, and the names given to these stone structures often mean “man” – the Inuit call their Inunsuk structures Inunguak (“imitation of a person’), the German call theirs steinmann (stone man) and in the Italian Alps they are known as ometto (“small man”).
And sometimes tiny aspects of nature join together in community, growing over time to create landscapes and environments of great beauty. This is the case with lichen and moss. Here we have an ancient Grandmother tree, living in the Olympic Peninsula National Park, Washington state. She has her arms open wide, a cord of energy reaching out to the world from her heart, and a huge, loving smile. A huge community of green moss has spent generations decorating her in a coat of soft green….Visiting with her is truly a trip “over the river and through the woods” to Grandmother’s House!
So…in this month of Thanksgiving, take time to pause and consider in your life what types of community are you a part of, and who are supporting and cooperating with you in often unseen and unheralded ways.
Happy Community y’all!