Sweet Juliet & A Burden To BearThursday, September 20, 2007
Waking up to a cool rainy day has a way of cooling off one's enthusiasm. I went into the garden and noticed that the English Rose, Rosa 'Sweet Juliet' was telling me, in few words, that she liked her new location in the garden. She had flowered well in the past inside a large pot by the pond. This year I moved her nearby, but into the ground. She has grown tall, and even as fall beckons she is in bloom with many buds promising even more to come. The flowers are not as large as they are in the summer but the sweet smell (similar to Rosa 'Maiden's Blush') is all there. Her fragrance dissipated my melancholy.
As I looked at Sweet Juliet I thought into the future (a near one, perhaps?) when we will have to leave our house and move into a smaller one. Surely one of my daughters will want my roses. The hostas I will give to VanDusen as a collection. Rosemary will have to handle her perennials. Perhaps I will not be around for this sad occasion if my wish to make a quick exit via a clean and residue-less vaporization is realized.
The fleeting presence of Sweet Juliet made me think of all those watch ads I have noticed in the New York Times of late. They advertise $3000 watches with all sorts of complications. My 20 year-old Filipino Timex keeps ticking (whirring?) on and I need a loupe to check the date but the time is accurate and visible. Even though there is something of the Argentine left in me I have no desire for a Rolex on my wrist. Sweet Juliet made me think of all the belongings we have amassed in our years on Athlone Street and the difficulty of having to move without them. The burden of possession is a burden that is hard to bear.
I think of Brother Edwin Reggio C.S.C., who in his youth would have been sent from here to there at a moment's notice. It would all have been easy. A couple of pairs of shoes, a bible, some shirts, trousers and a shaving kit, would all have fit in a suitcase and he would have been ready to go. There was (for me it was only a passing fancy, even though I considered it) an attraction to that calling. I would have been reaping the benefits now had I answered it. The burden of possessions would certainly have been a lighter one.
But then I think of Rebecca and (now) Lauren as I take in the fragrance of Sweet Juliet. I think of what Dag Hammarskjöld wrote in his autobiographical Markings
What makes loneliness an anguish
Is not that I have no one to share my burden,
I have only my burden to bear.
And I consider myself fortunate.