My book is about rockhounding and prospecting in the Southwestern United States. At its heart is exploring. In peppering my book with quotations, I’ll have some thoughts from people who have wandered the world. But all that exploring may come back to T.S. Eliot.
Great poetry often leaves questions, cryptic remarks meant for each reader to divine their own answers. Commentators suggest Eliot may have been referring to the holy fire on the Day of the Pentecost, when the Lord fulfilled and enabled the early Christian church. Perhaps.
These are just a few lines from “Little Gidding,” the last part of his larger “Four Quartets.”
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always–
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
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