A small wood free of underbrush, a grove is often the last remaining patch of a once immense forest. A grove is also a planted stand of nut or fruit trees. Ancient groves were often considered sacred. The Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh features a sacred cedar grove, and sacred groves figure prominently in the myths of ancient Europe, Greece, and Rome. In North America, many Native American peoples believe that trees have souls, and the Ojibwe, for instance, rarely cut down living trees. As Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in a poem titled “Good-Bye,” a grove is “a spot that is sacred to thought and God.” In our day, grove is often used in place-names, whether a community still possesses one or not. Chicago is ringed by Buffalo Grove, Downers Grove, Elk Grove, Fox River Grove, Long Grove, Morton Grove, River Grove, and Sugar Grove.

Donna Seaman