Reach Farther Than You Thought

dogwood blossoms
Reach Farther

Reach farther than you thought you could, you thought you ought to, you thought you had a right to, you thought was possible. Don’t think, just reach.

The dogwood flower will hold more sun in its cup then, and does that make it more intelligent, more successful? Or is it just an accident of placement in the tree that a longer branch holds this one flower away from the others, and higher, so that it will have more exposure to the sun? Possibly the seeds that develop from that flower will be bigger, or more robust, and may even produce a new dogwood tree. More likely it will feed a blue jay a good meal in October, as winter comes on.

Back when I was studying English literature my professor quoted from Andrea del Sarto,

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?

I liked this. It made sense to me, and to what I was trying to do for myself at that time. It’s from a poem by Robert Browning, one of those long screeds that I always felt were stream of consciousness and could be a little crazed, like William Blake, running off into the weeds with magical thinking. Especially this poem as he holds the hand of his lover Lucrezia,

But do not let us quarrel any more,
No, my Lucrezia; bear with me for once:
Sit down and all shall happen as you wish.
You turn your face, but does it bring your heart?

His discourse rambles on, and on, and on…and it contains many interesting thoughts, like the one above. Though the words are dated, it made perfect sense to me. Even back then, late 70s, the “man” rankled me, though I knew it was used in that sense as a stand-in for “mankind.” I’m not particularly religious, but I could accept “heaven” as a symbolic statement. And I’ve remembered it since then. Occasionally it comes up out of nowhere, and maybe it’s a reminder to keep on in the way I began.

I think Browning got to me, and I’m rambling. That’s okay.

. . . . . . .

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