January 6, 2021

Windsor Castle, November 30, 1993

THE LAST ROSE AT WINDSOR

On Thanksgiving Day, 1993, Heather and I flew to London to visit Patrick. He and his friend Brent were on a four-month BUNAC work abroad experience. Patrick was working in the bookstore at Westminster Cathedral and Brent was in Men’s Fragrances at Harrod’s. 

Our last day there, Heather and I went to Windsor Castle, where the grounds spoke of a long history—towers of stone resisting the forces of change and human suffering for almost 1,000 years. The tour guide pointed out the vicar’s home and garden behind this crumbling brick wall.  She said the vicar’s young son had recently died in an automobile accident and that this was a very sad time for his family.  I spotted a pink rose clinging on—which spoke of the history, the memories, the sorrow and the hope more clearly than the gray towers of Windsor.

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from…. The moment of the rose and… the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

-TS Eliot, Four Quartets

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