Monday, June 9, 2014

An Apple Tree Was Concerned

An Apple Tree Was Concerned

An apple tree was concerned 
about a late frost and losing its gifts 
that would help feed a poor family close by. 

Can't the clouds be generous with what falls from them? 
Can't the sun ration itself with precision? 

They can speak, trees, 
they can say the sweetest things

but it takes special ears to hear them,
ears that have listened to people
with great care. 

             To listen with great care is one of the tenants of a successful relationship. We like to think ourselves infallible to such commonalities ('Listening? Why, of course!' we say), but do we ever stop to think about why communication is so necessary? It is because silence, though it can be comforting, can also be cruel. To remain silent about things affecting the heart, though will keep you from being confrontational, will also keep you from being fulfilled. As I've been reading through Kahlil and Mary's letters, I began to think their love and understanding of each other were perfect. Conversely, they wrote about their largest which they recounted the past and how it had taken both a long time to express the love that they felt...and this had caused the other pain. Sure, they spoke of friendship, of affection, but never the deep romantic love (that we presume needs sex and physical closeness to attain). This hurt them both, equally so, for they knew their truth (that one can have romance without sex, that one can be in love without kissing), but this fear, of revealing something uncommon kept them both from doing so. Eventually, of course, they began openly professing their love, but never did they discuss the years of not doing so. That was, until, April of 1915 when they stayed up until 4:15 AM (according to Mary's journal) doing precisely that.

Kahlil on April 18, 1915: "In speaking about the past, we always make the present and the future more clear and solid. For a long time I had a black fear of unveiling the past; a fear caused by my lack of directness and frankness. How infinitely better it would have been if I had had the courage to speak of pain. I suffered in silence - and silence sometimes is apt to make suffering deeper - because silence itself is deep. It is more comfortable for most people not to speak; as a rule they make a mess of things when they think aloud. Though you must love the silence that understanding creates."

This "large" fight, about who had really lacked the strength to show affection, continued for a month, resolving slowly and seeming to be at peace when on August 2, 1915 Gibran wrote: "All is well now, beloved Mary, all is well, and though it is hard to divorce ourselves absolutely from the past, we should not dwell in it. You know, Mary, that each and every human relation is divided into season of thoughts and feelings and conduct. The past five years were a season in our friendship. Now, after this discussion, we are at the beginning of a new season. And who can say, 'This season is good and that season is bad?' All seasons are natural and necessary to life. Death itself is a part of life. Though I have died many times during the past five years, the marks of death are not upon me and my heart is without bitterness. May God bless you, love and love and love."

Somebody's Baby (1982), Jackson Browne

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