A friend of mine recently reintroduced me to the book The Little Prince. The narrator had crashlanded his plane in the desert and was approached by a young boy. He told the narrator about meeting a fox, who had a lot to say:
“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.
“What does that mean – ‘tame’?”
“It means to establish ties.”
If you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world.”
As I love in this life, it’s clear to me that a few people have tamed me, and I them. Although I tell myself that I don’t need these precious folks to do or say any particular thing, I am tied to them with ribbons of grace. One I know is at a great physical distance from me, but she is as close as my heart. Even if we hardly ever talk, maybe never see each other again, the contact is there. I can feel it.
“If you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow.”
When I enter a room and see one who has tamed and is tamed, a hush falls down my body. It may be a romantic impulse or perhaps not. There is a surge of inbreath, an excitement and yet a stillness. He or she is unique in my world. I feel pulled towards the source of such peace.
“You have hair that is the color of gold. Thank how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat.”
Jody and I tamed each other. There are two trees in Belmont that I’ve christened “Jody’s tree”. And when I’m in their presence I’m also in the presence of my beloved wife. Although many tears have dripped down my face in the last three years, our taming often produces a little smile of remembrance. For the good times. For the laughing and the dancing and the cuddling. Our trees remind me.
“One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets himself be tamed.”
And weeping I do. For what more is there in this life than relationship, in loving another as oneself? Weeping in sadness at the distance between us, measured either in miles or in lifetimes. Weeping in joy for the privilege of being tied to great souls. And smiling too.