February 11, 2009

My Favorite Paragraph

Doug asked what his reader's favorite paragraphs were.  This is mine.  It's from a collection that E. B. White put together of his late wife's writings on gardening.  After she died he missed her terribly.  This is the last paragraph in a long introduction he wrote for the book (Henry Allen was their caretaker):
"Armed with a diagram and a clipboard, Katherine would get into a shabby Brooks raincoat much too long for her, put on a little round wool hat, pull on a pair of overshoes, and proceed to the director's chair--a folding canvas thing--that had been placed for her at the edge of the plot.  There she would sit, hour after hour, in the wind and the weather, while Henry Allen produced dozens of brown paper packages of new bulbs and a basketful of old ones, ready for the intricate interment.  As the years went by and age overtook her, there was something comical yet touching in her bedraggled appearance on this awesome occasion--the small, hunched-over figure, her studied absorption in the implausible notion that there would be yet another spring, oblivious to the ending of her own days, which she knew perfectly well was near at hand, sitting there with her detailed chart under those dark skies in the dying October, calmly plotting the resurrection."