‘…the gold heart of the daisy…is a thing all by itself. You can pull away the daisy petals and the heart is still there, unhurt, glowing like a little sun, but if you tear away the heart from among the petals then there isn’t any flower any more.’

Above our little house, above the foothills we nestle against, there is an iron forest ranged along the crest of the mountains. On clear and warm days like today, it looks like nothing more than a cluster of radio towers. At night, when it is shrouded in darkness, it becomes a bit more magical, because it glows with red stars. But it only shows itself for what it really is when there is a fresh snowfall, when it and the mountain it stands on fuse together in whiteness and become an ice-castle for a mysterious princess.

I keep meaning to write about it, the princess locked inside of the ice-castle. On quiet afternoons like this one, I sit down at my kitchen table in front of an open window, coffee in hand, ready to dream out a new story on paper. And when the coffee is gone and I look at what is written, I find that I have not written a story of an ice-princess, nor of a never-ending beach, nor of the whale that lives in the clouds of the painting we have thought of purchasing. All I have written is a love letter from an girl with an empty coffee cup to her best friend, who kisses her in the doorway when he gets home in the afternoon and who carries her whole heart with him when he leaves her in the morning.

I once thought that our love would inspire my words, my scribbled tales, my figments of thought. I was right. I just didn’t realize, then, that it would be so powerful as to make it nearly impossible to write any story other than that of our love. I realize it now. And the truth is that I really don’t mind in the slightest. I love this story, love the living and the telling and the writing of it, the way that it does not grow old, only worn in beautiful patinaed patterns like the gold band on an old man’s hand.

I love the beauty of this story of ours, this love we share. And I have come to a decision. I will no longer try not to write love letters–that has shown itself to be impossible. So, I will bow to this fact and write them, as eloquently and richly as I can. And I will try, if I can, to clothe these letters afresh–to wrap them with ice castles and beaches and the night-riders who live in our mountains. But the letters themselves, they shall stay there, tucked safely into the heart of the story, like the glowing golden heart of a daisy. Because without them, the stories are empty words, floating petals. There is a kind of beauty in flower petals, though they fade and brown quickly. But the story God has graciously given me to tell is one of much fuller and more lasting beauty than petals alone. Only the heart of the daisy, or the whole daisy will do. Our love letters are the heart. I mean to deck it with petals if I can…but if I cannot, then I will go on writing the heart. Because I must.

‘Pens and paint, a good voice production, and grease paint and things aren’t the only means of expression. Some people express loveliness just by loving. It’s the better way…’

‘…That’s at the root of all giving, don’t you think? At the root of all art. You can’t hoard the beauty you’ve drawn into you; you’ve got to pour it out again for the hungry, however feebly, however stupidly. You’ve just got to.’

(quotations taken from ‘Pilgrim’s Inn’ by Elizabeth Goudge)


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