"To the people who fully understood the story, the virtues of oak pointed out what was virtuous for men."
-William Bryant Logan, Oak: The Frame of Civilization
I'm bad with numbers. In spite of my current post number, a year ago today I didn't plan to, but I spent the whole day standing in the rain, watching the Cedar lane oak come down. The inability to find a conclusion to the story has strung a death vigil into a year of mourning. The mourning may not be done, but I'm sensing this project is. I sort of knew I'd never find a conclusion in my own words, I have little trust for words, and little facility with them. I recently read the poem below for the first time, and thought that I'd found words as close as I was going to come to a final statement. This isn't the last you'll see of The Tree, there are projects to be built from its wood, sculptures to be carved, and I'm sure the light will strike the stump just so, and I'll have to share the picture. For now however, love to all who have walked this path with me.
No true story ever has a true conclusion.
'I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.
The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.'
-Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dirge Without Music