It was sometime around 1988, two years after we had moved to the large corner garden in Kerrisdale, when Rosemary informed me that in the evening we were going to a meeting of the Vancouver Rose Society. We went.
I was sitting on an uncomfortable chair at the Floral Hall of VanDusen Botanical garden looking at 100 bad slides of roses. I could not believe I had been dragged to something that boring.
As a few years passed I became as keen on Roses as Rosemary and by 1990 our garden was a paradise of varied plants including many roses.
Rosemary in all her wisdom prepared me for a life love of plants and roses and all that led to my scanning those plants beginning in 2001. It would seem that Rosemary always knew what I would like even though there had to be some not too gently coaxing.
Today, April 19, 2022, Rosemary’s birthday, I went to my first in-person meeting of the Vancouver Rose Society at the Floral Hall.
It was mostly a happy occasion to be in a roomful of people with similar tastes. At the same time it was impossible for me not to think of the many pleasant times that Rosemary and I had in those meetings.
This last week I have been experimenting with a new technique that I call scanner sandwich negs. I wrote about it here.
But today, in such an important day I thought that the least I could do was to do a sandwich scan of Rosemary. I believe I chose the two perfect negatives for this. It is all about time. In a previous blog (this one) I included both of those negatives separately with one of my favourite poems by Jorge Luís Borges. While that poem is both in Spanish and in English in tha tblog I am going to place below the English version.
I have to admit that rarely did I think in all those moments (52 years’ worth) that I would be looking back on them without having Rosemary around. But even though it is late I have learned my lesson. As I lie in bed with my affectionate cats I look at them and enjoy the moment and I think in a future when either they or I will no longer be together.
I am furthermore saddened today by the fact that both Rosemary and I did not believe in a hereafter. We knew we would never see each other again. I call this Astor Piazzolla’s Oblivion.
The Hourglass, by Jorge Luis Borges
It is appropriate that time be measured
by the stark shadow cast by a stake in summer
or by the flow of water in the river
where Heraclitus saw time’s ironies
since, seen as time and fate, they are alike:
the movement of the mindless daytime shadow
and the irrevocable running on
of river water following its flow.
Just so, but time discovered in the deserts
another substance, smooth and of some weight,
that seemed to have been specifically imagined
for measuring out the ages of the dead.
And so appears this instrument of legend
in the engravings in the dictionary,
an object graying antiquarians
will banish to a dusty underworld
of things— a single chessman, a broadsword,
now lifeless, and a clouded telescope,
sandalwood worn away by opium,
a world of dust, of chance, of nothingness.
Who has not hesitated, seeing that hourglass,
severe and sombre, in the god’s right hand,
accompanying the scythe he also handles,
the image Dürer copied in his drawing?
Through a top opening, the inverted cone
slowly lets fall the wary grains of sand,
a gradual gold that, loosening, fills up
the concave crystal of its universe.
Pleasure there is in watching how the sand
slowly slithers up and makes a slope
then, just about to fall, piles up again
with an insistence that appears quite human.
The sand of every cycle is the same
and infinite is the history of sand;
so, underlying your fortunes and your sorrows,
yawns an invulnerable eternity.
It never stops, the spilling of the sand.
I am the one who weakens, not the glass.
The rite of the falling sand is infinite
and, with the sand, our lives are leaving us.
In the timing of the sand, I seem to feel
a cosmic time: all the long history
that memory keeps sealed up in its mirrors
or that has been dissolved by magic Lethe.
All these: the pillar of smoke, the pillar of fire,
Carthage, Rome, and their constricting wars,
Simon Magus, the seven feet of earth
the Saxon offers the Norwegian King—
all are obliterated, all brought down
by the tireless trickle of the endless sand.
I do not have to save myself— I too
am a whim of time, that shifty element.