Time, then, is told by love’s losses, and by the coming of love, and by love continuing in gratitude for what is lost. It is folded and enfolded and unfolded forever and ever, the love by which the dead are alive and the unborn welcomed into the womb. The great question for the old and the dying, I think, is not if they have loved and been loved enough, but if they have been grateful enough for love received and given, however much. No one who has gratitude is the onliest one. Let us pray to be grateful to the last.
I think my favorite of Berry’s Port William books that I’ve read so far may be The Memory of Old Jack. And now I’m on an Andy Catlett trail because in The Memory of Old Jack was this: “….Andy is aware as always that he approaches a past much older than his own, that he cannot remember. But it is a past that, listening to Old Jack’s and his grandparents’ talk, he can enter with his imagination, and in that way he has taken possession of it. Since boyhood he has been Old Jack’s listener, the student of his memory. And there has come to be a part of his mind that is spacious and old….”