The leaden skies of yesterday were like a pall. A sense of grief seemed to hang in the air. Such a feeling was inevitable, for it was though the very wind was keening in the woodlands, the trees themselves sensitive to human emotions. Late November is the year’s own time of long sleep, the summary if not the farewell.The hills are bare to the buffeting of winter.
And yet, the hills still stand.The trees are still rooted and rugged. Rivers flow to the sea. And beyond the gray clouds the sun keeps to its course and the stars are in there in their appointed places.The eternities prevail.We live with those eternities, though ourselves mortal;it is the human dream, the hope and aspiration, that persists. Take away all else and those are the human eternities.
Robert Frost, in his last book wrote lines that sum it up:
We vainly wrestle with the blind belief
That aught we cherish
Can ever quite pass out of utter grief
And wholly perish
Dark days come, inevitable. And time persists, time that both dark and light and forever changing. The time of stars, the time of the hills, the time of man. And nothing cherished ever wholly perishes Gray November is a passing thing, and year’s end is no end at all, but another marker on the great rhythm. A tree falls , and a seedling is already rooted.
Man persists, man with the capacity to dream and hope and dream again. Man , with his capacity for shock and grief, but also with his inheritance of faith, or belief, is participation in the great truth of continuity.
New York Times ,
Saturday, November 23, 1963