Cherish is the Word
This blog was written a few weeks ago when Debbie and I were in the mountains of North Carolina. It was right after our trip to France was cancelled, toward the beginning of the novel corona virus pandemic. A lot of things have changed since then, but I believe this reflection holds true.
If you are of a particular age, you’ll remember the The Association’s 1966 hit song (written by David Cassidy), “Cherish.” We danced a thousand miles to that one, very slowly. And “cherish is the word,” the right word, to describe not just that feeling inside but that whole human experience of noticing what we sometimes take for granted.
As I write this, Debbie and I are sitting in front of a nice fire in a cabin we’ve rented for the week in the mountains of western North Carolina. Rather than risk flying home to Saint Simons Island, I drove. Then we drove again from southern Georgia here, making certain to light candles to Don Frampton as we passed through South Carolina.
I’ve been reading a poem by Pulitzer Prize winner Lisel Mueller from her collection, “Alive Together.” Since Bonnie picked the book up for me at Octavia Books, a few days ago, I’ve read several fine poems in the volume. But it is the first one I keep coming back to. Here it is:
How swiftly the strained honey
of afternoon light
flows into darkness
and the closed bud shrugs off
in special mystery
in order to break into blossom
as if what exists, exists
so that it can be lost
and become precious.
Cherish is the word for the proper attitude toward the fleeting light of evening, and the darkness too that will give way to the sunshine in the morning; toward the hard bud that gives way to the blossom, just as the blossom will make way for the fruit. Cherish is the word for the gentle hold we keep on life, just firm enough not to let go entirely, but loose enough to feel creation’s heart beating through our finger tips.
Lights have come on in the darkness in the valley below us. I can see them from this cabin three thousand feet above sea level. Homes buzz with people, parents, children, young, old, some folks sitting alone in front of televisions, some just in from work sitting down to an evening meal. Wherever they are and whatever they are doing these days, people are talking about quarantines and an invisible illness that produces a wide range of worries.
Lights have come on below a night sky covered by clouds. The pin pricks of light in the valley don’t look like they stand a chance against the darkness. But, as the Preacher said, “the sun also rises.”