Wisdom may be obtained in various ways; the easiest and most accessible of which is by reading fine literature or authoritative works on any elective subject in the humanities or science. On rare occasions, it can be anecdotally acquired by an unusual life experience, delivering a memorable message. But, this is a narrative, and we should not hesitate, any further, to begin the story.
For upwards of two decades, we have been the titleholders of modest country property, abutting a pretty pond, in Kent Connecticut. We commute to it from our apartment in New York City, weather permitting, provided we have no conflicting engagements. We are avid gardeners, and in addition to raising flowers, have a special interest in raising flowering shrubs and small trees.
On one October, we celebrated a significant birthday, and received a gift of two very young pear trees. The problem was that the young trees were “bare rooted” (as opposed to being wrapped in soil) and planting season was at least six months away. Not knowing what to do, we telephoned the local agricultural extension for help. We received the prediction that the young trees probably would not survive. We pressed further and were told that it would be a “long shot” but, if the trees were kept extremely cold for the next several months (6), that there was some “slight” chance of survival. We have two bathrooms in our N.Y. apartment, and dedicated one to this chancy six months project, by keeping the window to one bathroom open (and the door closed) all winter, to keep the trees cold. In April, we brought the little bare branch pear trees to Connecticut, gently scraped the roots, and, after adding a small quantity of growth hormone to the soil, planted them, and awaited results.
Mother Nature was especially merciful; not only did the nascent pear trees live, but they survived the next few seasons, grew substantially high and produced normal, healthy leaves. Although they developed and grew tall, they did not, for some reason, produce any buds for reproductive flowering. The trees were similar, but different varietals, which, we were advised, was the necessary combination to interact sexually. After nine years of disappointing chastity, we bought and planted one other varietal and thereafter, a second varietal of these pear trees; still no buds. One year later, we had a truly unique experience. Despite the complete absence of any flowers, a single pear had miraculously appeared, on one of the two original trees. We could not fathom how a fruit could be produced without a flower-fertilized (sexual) connection, and humorously called the event an “immaculate conception”. We cut the singular pear into several pieces to share the miracle with the family.
The following year we were surprised and overjoyed to observe that (after eleven disappointing years) the trees, in season, produced their traditional white flowers, and later, a modest crop of fruit. The harvested pears, after one week, softened and were delicious treats for the family; there were only about thirty harvested, but we were exultant. We assumed that, when we return this year (2018), there would expectantly, be plenty of beautiful, delicious, green pears; enough to make presents to family and friends. Did we mention that the property abuts a beautiful pond? Perhaps so; but we did not mention that the pond is inhabited by a large industrious beaver. When we returned to our country house in Spring, having been absent for a few very cold months, we made a sad and frustrating discovery. There would be no plentiful crop of pears this year, or any year; the beaver chewed down and removed all the pear trees. We suppose that they were just the right size for that big tooth rodent to fell, and then to drag down to the water for his lodge, or some other large underwater infrastructure project.
Let us set aside our grief for the moment and return to the theme expressed at the outset of this sad, but enlightening narrative, viz., that sometimes wisdom may be acquired from an unusual experience. We did learn a valuable lesson from this event; and it certainly, was not, the trite maxim “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” [ we, to the contrary, heartily approve of hopeful optimism, especially under such facts as this narrative]. The enlightened lesson is that, all of us who fancy ourselves, “owners” of property [ by reason of the filing, in some County Clerk’s or Register’s office, documents called Real Estate Deeds, with our names on it, prepared and notarized, bearing official seals, in accordance with the written law of homo sapiens] are in error. Our exclusive ownership is indeed, recognized and legally respected by other homo sapiens; but not by the beaver, deer, squirrels, foxes, otters and other creatures in nature. Our documents are unknown, irrelevant, and of no interest, whatsoever, to the critters, who are the authentic owners and original inhabitants of the property. Mr. Beaver does not owe his rights of residency of the pond, to the performance of an officially choreographed legal transaction, nor to official legislative fiat. He, and his fellow forest denizens, are, always were, and will continue to be, the rightful owners and possessors of the land, by the incontrovertible law of recognized inheritance. In accordance with the universal and eternal Planetary Law, we are mere squatters.