It's night be the flame
And the red that colors the clouds
Good day sir Good evening madam
You don't look your age
What does it matter if your embraces
Make the twin stars bleed
What does it matter if your face is painted
if hoarfrost glitters on the branches
Of granite or marble
Your age will show
And the shade of the great trees
will walk on your graves.
Robert Desnos, "Good Day, Good Evening" translated by Amy Levin
A good day deserves a good evening, and the boundary between them is the sunset. Late afternoon sun illuminates the jonquil or daffodil (I can never remember what the difference is) but my enjoyment isn’t diminished because I can’t name this flower.
A good life deserves a good death – the kind of Happy Death French philosopher and novelist Albert Camus wrote of, where, at sunset, the sky splits open like an orange and the juice streams down one’s face.
Whether their grave is marked with moss-polished granite or frost-sparkling marble, gardeners probably sleep more peacefully in the ground they loved to cultivate than many others unfamiliar with the multitudes of life that lie beneath their feet. The light at the end of the day seems to me, to awaken awareness of all the gardeners that came before me and those who will follow.
I just planted my new Japanese Maple in the blue pot. It is “Sango Katu” and it has lovely red branches. It will be challenged to survive in this spot as the sun moves to higher latitudes. I can barely keep my two red maples alive beneath the shade cover. Even if it survives, it will never become the kind of great tree envisioned in the poem. But that doesn't matter. Whether a plot of earth houses a garden ripening with the possibilities of new life, or a grave where old life sleeps, moving shadows of great and small trees still walk across gardens and graves alike as the earth rolls beneath the sun.