When my father was an old man,
past eighty years, we sat together
on the porch in silence
in the dark. Finally he said,
“Well, I have had a wonderful life,”
adding after a long pause,
“and I have had nothing
to do with it!” We were silent
for a while again. And then I asked,
“Well, do you believe in the
‘informed decision’?” He thought
some more, and at last said
out of the darkness: “Naw!”
He was right, for when we choose
the way by which our only life
is lived, we choose and do not know
what we have chosen, for this
is the heart’s choice, not the mind’s;
to be true to the heart’s one choice
is the long labor of the mind.
He chose, imperfectly as we must,
the rule of love, and learned
through years of light what darkly
he had chosen: his life, his place,
our place, our lives. And now comes
one he chose, but will not see:
Emily Rose, born May 2, 1993.
“II” by Wendell Berry.
I took the above photo in New Ulm, Texas.