When you’ve been together this long—
the grown children are off making their own mistakes,
and careers have been dropped like bad habits—
the arguments tend to be about basic things.
We no longer tolerate easy answers.
Just the hard ones, such as those concerning walnuts and flowers.
One of you wants to plant the trees everywhere,
Knowing they’ll grow 100 feet high, and three across,
And their fruit is good, and their wood makes sublime furniture.
And that this all comes with foresight and patience.
Remembering his father saying one day, a few years before he died,
“Plant a walnut tree and generations will thank you.”
And that one comment opened things up
Far beyond the proscribed, self-absorbed view of a child.
You see them in the woods differently then, craning your neck up 100 feet,
Overwhelmed with the spirits of things that will outlive you.
And the other one doesn’t know where your walnut fixation comes from
because you never told her. She just knows that the walnut tree
drops chemicals in the dirt to poison the competition.
Ruthless Mother Nature at work.
But she’s on a mission to protect every living thing she can,
and to her, the walnut’s natural tendencies have to be balanced.
She prefers to see flowers grow, and bees and butterflies,
Because she luxuriates in life’s tendency to flourish, given a chance.
She’s a chance-giver.
Fundamental differences. Irreconcilable, yet both perfectly valid.
That’s what happens when two people have been together as long as we have.
We’re down to the nitty-gritty questions that really have no final answer.
Not the trivial stuff, such as who’s God is right.
No. Important ones, such as whether our being here has made a difference
In even the slightest speed of the Earth’s rotation,
And how much more time we have,
And what people will say of us.
And how the world can have both walnuts and roses.
OCTOBER 2016 / JULY 2019 AUTHOR OF THE MONTH at Spillwords.com
“Hemmingplay,” is the pen name of Doug Stanfield, who grew up on a family farm in western Ohio, went with his parents for two years in Karachi, Pakistan, in high school and had lived, until recently, in Bellefonte, PA with his late wife, Wilda and their two sons, Ben and John. Doug was a writer, editor and director of internet communications at Penn State for 26 years. He has had a few disreputable occupations, including newspaper reporter and editor, and public relations flak, but is trying to make amends for his sins by writing poetry and fiction. When his sons were safely off making their own mistakes, he turned on the computer one day, stared at the screen for what seemed a long time, and began to learn the craft anew at age 67. Doug has published three books so far: "Mermaid Sisters: First Dive", a children's book on iTunes/iBook; "I Came From A Place of Fireflies" published as a paperback and Kindle on Amazon, and a new book of poetry, "Snowflakes & Ashes: Meditations on the Temporary”, available as both an ebook and as a paperback. (Gatekeeper Press) on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Ingram and Baker & Taylor, and a few others.)
Latest posts by Doug Stanfield (Hemmingplay) (see all)