A Grandfather’s Philosophy


September 23, 2008 by esarsea

My maternal grandfather was an outdoorsman and a nature lover. He maintained his 10 acre parcel of land as if it were a state park. Vegetable gardens, rose gardens, oak trees raised from acorns, fruit trees, experimental graftings and acres of hand-mowed lawns. In the peak of the lawn growing season, by the time my grandfather finished mowing (a task that took several days) it literally was time to start over again. 

It was a full time labor of love. An early riser, my grandfather would eat breakfast and then go to work in the yard. He’d come in for lunch (typically soup with crackers and cheese) and then go back out to work in the yard – often until dusk. He was a strong yet gentle person, a former ivy-league wrestler and retired career military man. He loved hiking through the Olympic Mountains with his homemade backpack, carrying only a few essentials and a sleeping bag.

One evening my grandfather and I were sititng in silence, listening the the crackle and hiss of the fireplace and watching the flames curl and dance about. My grandfather, never taking his eyes off the fire, verbally mused: “The logs burning in the fireplace came from a tree that spent many years absorbing the heat and light of the sun. Now the tree is giving us back that same heat and light it collected and stored all those years.”

Although that was 35-40 years ago, I’ve never forgotten that moment. It wasn’t until later in life however that I began to appreciate the depth of his statement. It’s a methphor for many things in life – if not life itself.

5 thoughts on “A Grandfather’s Philosophy

  1. Da Goddess says:


    Seems wrong to just say “yep” and leave it at that, but I love those great life lessons — their simplicity is stunning.

  2. Bill says:

    “And then Grandpa handed the pipe back to me…”

  3. esarsea says:

    HA HA HA!!!!

  4. rsr348 says:

    There ya go. A piece of thoughtful beauty balanced with a shot of humor from Bill. I love it.

    Your Grandpa sounds like a good guy. Since returning to work full time, I really miss just having days to be in my yard and hang out with my dog. Time to slow down and remember why we decided to move up north. Nature does wonders for the spirit.

  5. […] to me. I am not an alumni, but as a young man I would sit in with my grandfather (yes Bill, that grandfather) and listen the the Husky broadcasts on the radio. It’s a fond memory, and I think about him […]

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September 2008

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