Becoming One With the Moss and Fungus at Grafton State Park

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

We made our first visit of the 2017 season to Grafton State Park yesterday.  If you've read my previous Grafton posts you know this....but for those who have not, I'll share that although I grew up a mere 36 minutes from Grafton, I'd never been there until just three years ago.  It was actually on April 22, 2014. I fell in love with Grafton that very first visit but not the Grafton most of you might be thinking of.  When I say Grafton what probably comes to your mind are the masses that fill the beach and lake - swimming and kayaking during the summer months.   The other parts of Grafton, the parts that are accessible only from the winter entrance, are the Grafton I'm in love with.  Unless you're a snowmobiler, fisherman or hiker, you may not have even seen these parts of Grafton, yet this is where I find my serenity, my heart.


Growing up, I didn't need to travel to a state park to enjoy summer water fun.  I was blessed to spend all of my summers and eventually my year-round life on Saratoga Lake.  While Saratoga is unquestionably a beautiful lake, it doesn't quite hold the serenity of the smaller Grafton water bodies - Mill Pond, Second Pond and the back end of Long Pond, especially on an early spring day.



I've probably taken these few photos a half dozen times already in the three years that I've been visiting Grafton, yet I couldn't resist taking them again yesterday.

Getting into this part of Grafton (which by the way is free) can be a little bit of a challenge.  The road is dirt and a little washboardy (my word) at this time of year, but at least dry for the most part yesterday.


It's worth the shake up however because all along your way, you're greeted with such fabulous sights - signs of life, old and new, signs of nature, signs of fun....

This one reminded me of a crocodile head with the eyes on top.....




As we were making our way to the end of the road where you must turn around and make your way back out, I couldn't help but make an interesting connection between what I was seeing and photographing with life.  Let me explain.

As you look at these photos, what do you see?  Dead trees? Fungus? Moss? Battle scars?  Look again. These photos remind me of my family, namely my forebears - my grandparents and parents.  Oh boy, 'now she's lost it', you're saying.  Bear with me.  These trees, now long dead, broken and splintered but still present in their world, remind me of my family members who came before me.  They may no longer be with me, but their presence and influence in my life remains.  I exist and live my life in a way that is based on their lives, their values and the things they loved.  We often love the things we've learned from our parents or grandparents.  We often share the same beliefs we learned from them. I never traveled with my grandmother through the woods, but I've heard many stories about her love of searching the woods for mushrooms to eat.  My grandfather was a hunter so he spent time in the woods each hunting season. 

When I look at these dead trees, I see the things that are growing on them, so vibrant, like the moss and fungus.  I look at the hollows in them where animals now make their home.  The original life - the tree - might be mostly gone but new life exists on it and in it.  I believe that new life represents us. We are not our parents or grandparents, yet we live on because of them and our lives are shaped and formed thanks to them and the lessons and values they pass down to us.  They are our base, our foundation, our tree trunk. We are the moss living on those trunks (our ancestors), we are the legacy that lives on because of their foundation. They live on through us just as the trees still have purpose and value to the things that live on their hollowed shell.  We live on in our ancestors legacy.   Their existence and now their absence make us who and what we are today. Just as the fungus and moss might not exist were the trees and their conditions perfect and healthy, our lives are not filled with lessons and character building without the good and the bad experiences that life provides.  In other words, our life and the people in our lives may not be perfect but both still shape the people we are.  Even the bad contributes in some way to the positive attributes we possess.  Notice that this moss, and fungus is alive and vibrant despite the recent frigid, snowy winter!



I am very fortunate to have had some amazing people shape who I am, people who were passionate about life, people who saw beauty in things like dead trees and the fungus on them, people who took time to share those passions with me.  It is because of them, I think, that I am a little nutty when it comes to my addiction to chasing such things with my camera. I couldn't be more thankful.  I'm thankful because life is short and there's so much more to it than some of the things we find ourselves caught up in.  Today I dedicate this blog post to those people and hope that they are in a place where they can see the effect they've had on my life, my passions, my love of the world around me.  Today I suggest you think of the people who shaped your life.  Think of the ways your life reflects theirs and even you can't relate to being moss on a stump, or fungus on a dead tree, remember those folks and see if you don't see the world with new eyes because of them.
To read my previous Grafton posts (not all sappy like this one), here are the links:

Thanks for reading!  Come back soon to Life As I See It and don't forget to follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GAWelter/

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