In one of the final scenes in The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint- Exupery (1943), the Little Prince meets a fox, and has a discussion with him about what it means to “have ties” and what it means to “tame” something. On his small planet, the Little Prince has two bushes and a rose.
In this scene, the Little Prince comes to realize that the daily tending of something is what makes it special. As the Little Prince looked at all the roses in the fox’s garden, he said to them:
“You are beautiful, but are empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you—the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses; because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars; because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.”
During the first few weeks of our marriage, my husband and I read this book, feeling as though we had come upon the secret to sustaining a relationship. Daily watering makes an attachment. Attachment forms commitment. Commitment creates a foundation for blossoming.
Daily living. Putting out breakfast. Grapefruit. Tea with milk and sugar. Toast. It is through this daily tending that a bond and relationship is formed and sustained.
Reflection: What comforts do you share with another person in daily living?