Dear Family and Friends,
I learned today that June 12 is too late (because of its size etc) to plant the beautiful tree our arborist Shawn Clark and I handpicked today. So, please excuse me, but everything else about the planting of Our Beloved Francis' Tree is the same. Come now, -- not on June 12, -- but on Sunday May 23 at 3:30.
May 23 is the day after Francis' burial/committal, -- an even more fitting day for a tree planting. On Saturday May 22 we will surrender Francis' bones to Mother Earth, and on Sunday May 23 we will be planting his tree, proclaiming love everlasting.
Shawn, (who had strung lights on the Canadian hemlocks directly in front of Francis' hospital bed at Christmas time) drove me this afternoon to an enchanting, beautifully kept tree farm in Ogunquit to pick out our tree. Though I couldn't find info on it through the web (I must be misspelling it,) -- the delicate, tall, elegant flowering tree we chose is a "Stuartian."
Another precious Rowan Story
In early March having read Francis' love letters and reflecting on love that keeps on growing, I was moved to take down from the top of a bookcase, -- my old Liber Usualis. (This is the 2 1/2 " thick book that contains the Gregorian Chants which, since convent days, I still love.) I sang, -- actually re-learned-- the "Veni Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium: et tui amoris in eis ignem" -- Translated: "Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love." And then I placed it for easy access among my books on grief and theology.
Well, -- it didn't take long for 5 year old Rowan to notice it! The first week she just admired the shiny red gilded edges of its pages, but the following week, while she was at the other end of our living room, I heard her mumbling out loud about "the red book." Then I saw that she had picked it up and brought it near her library nook. She had a pencil in hand too (She loves to write!) so I went over to tell her this was not a book to write in, nor even a book with stories in it, but a book to sing from because it had Gregorian Chants in it, -- in Latin!
Then Rowan asked me to sing from it, so I sang that Veni Sancte Spiritus chant and she sort of sang along with me, seeming to enjoy it, judging from her smile and a calm look people often get when hearing chant. When I finished it she asked me to sing a second one, and then a third! I chose "Christus factus est" and "Assumpta Est" for the second and third.
Then Rowan said "Love never dies!" and added that she wanted to write "words about love, -- not a story," she explained, -- "but just words."
So we went over to the desk where she wrote -- by herself -- her words about love, sounding out the words for herself as they do now in kindergarten (unlike using phonics as we did in my day.)
The previous week she had written a story about reptiles, and the week before that, about chickens. When she had read her chicken story to Lee and me later in the kitchen, -- and Lee and I heard that she had put Francis in her story just as surely as if he were around all the time, "Memere and Pepere love their chickens," -- we had looked at each othe, our eyes widened.
Anyway this time, writing her "words about love" she asked me to spell only a few words. This is what she wrote on scrap paper first, and then recopied on some lovely slightly wrinkled donated parchment paper:
"LOVe NAVR DIS
LOVe U WILL FIND IN YOR HRT
LOVe YOU WILL FIND
BY ROWAn SlAter
to MeMe AND PEPE
i LOVe YOU"
Then Rowan said we should sing her words too. So I improvised a melody and she sang it along with me, copying my improvisation. I was so moved I wept and told Rowan that memere was crying for joy. She repeated what she had said the previous week when I was talking with Lynn in the kitchen during our supper, and was crying then too: "Look Mama, memere is crying, but she doesn't look as if she's crying."
After Rowan and Lynn left and the dishes were done, I carefully trimmed the parchment paper and folded that precious composition to fit in the Liber Usualis along with this story. Someday when Rowan inherits this house she'll be able to reread her own "words about love."