We’ve had freezing night temps for two nights so far and tonight will follow. It’s easy to cover the tomatoes and impossible to cover the Scarlet Emperor Beans. I’ve collected a good handful of seeds, so they have accomplished their big task over the summer. Monday night they got by with a little frost burn. I’ll know later today how it went for them last night. There’s no way around the fact that life is lethal.
Yesterday when I was out with Teddy I was thinking of one of Shakespeare’s LEAST redemptive sonnets.
BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-ras’d
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat’ry main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
It’s a beautiful poem, evocative and moving. It’s also legitimate. We all lose what we love and in our turn, become something someone else loses. It’s harsh, very very harsh, but there it is. Still, there’s another side… I don’t think Shakespeare wrote any humorous sonnets about death, but if he HAD maybe this would have inspired him?
A week or so ago I got a phone call from an old man in Seattle. The message said, “I’m an old Del Norter. I’m living in Seattle now, and I’m too old to move back, and I’d like to buy some of your notecards. I found your business card and decided to give you a call.” Months ago, I heard from Louise at the Rio Grande County Museum in fun-filled, scenic Del Norte, Colorado of a friend of hers in Seattle who wanted a LOT of notecards, but just as we were going to figure that out, her life went seriously sideways.
I HATE talking to people on the phone unless I know them. From the voicemail, I could hear a lot of TIME in the man’s voice. I emailed Louise and asked if that was the man she’d told me about. He was. Louise sent me his address and other contact information. I immediately packed up the notecards I had on hand, some postcards I’d had made of paintings of San Luis Valley locations and put them in the package, too, with a note explaining that. I really didn’t want him to pay for anything, but then thought that might hurt his feelings, so I charged him my special local price for the cards. I sent them priority mail. I wanted the package to get there fast. Since I wasn’t calling him back, that only seemed right.
By return mail (sent the day he received the package!) I got a little note with a check enclosed. The note — which had been written with a fountain pen! — made me laugh so hard that Bear thought something was wrong with me.
All I can say is “Take that, Shakespeare.”