Friday, February 15, 2013

`But You and I in Part Are One'

Sunny, cool and dry. Autumn in February. At the grocery in the morning, last-minute lovers were buying candy, cards and flowers. The first time I bought roses for a girl was St. Valentine’s Day 1971, a flower shop across from campus, the air steamy and fragrant in the Ohio winter. I was nervous. Could I afford it? What color? Is a dozen too many? Too few? I settled on twelve yellow roses, and she said I chose well. 

All times feel contemporaneous. Forty-two years, and I smell the roses. “I am the past,” writes Yvor Winters, “and that is all.” Half the front yard is a wall of azaleas, and here and there they are blossoming – pink, white, magenta. The peach sapling I planted a month ago is in flower. Friends said you can’t grow peaches in Texas. The buds on the lime and avocado are about to burst. On the way to the airport to pick up my oldest son and his fiancĂ©e, I passed a pick-up truck with a heart-shaped sign in the back: “Miguel Loves Linda Forever.” Winters writes:

“But you and I in part are one:
The frightened brain, the nervous will,
The knowledge of what must be done,
The passion to acquire the skill
To face that which you dare not shun.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Says Robert Frost on the dubious plight of a peach tree planted in New England:


We sit indoors and talk of the cold outside.
And every gust that gathers strength and heaves
Is a threat to the house. But the house has long been tried.
We think of the tree. If it never again has leaves,
We’ll know, we say, that this was the night it died.
It is very far north, we admit, to have brought the peach.
What comes over a man, is it soul or mind---
That to no limits and bounds he can stay confined?
You would say his ambition was to extend the reach
Clear to the Artic of every living kind.
Why is his nature forever so hard to teach
That though there is no fixed line between wrong and right,
There are roughly zones whose laws must be obeyed?
There is nothing much we can do for the tree tonight,
But we can’t help feeling more than a little betrayed
That the northwest wind should rise to such a height
Just when the cold went down so many below.
The tree has no leaves and may never have them again.
We must wait till some months hence in the spring to know.
But if it is destined never again to grow,
It can blame this limitless trait in the hearts of men.