This morning I too pruned my rose trees from Wisdom of the Sands

This morning I too pruned my rose trees from Wisdom of the Sands by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

There was an old gardener who liked to speak to me about his friend. Before life separated them, for many, many, many years the two had lived like brothers, drinking the evening tea together, observing the same feast days, each repairing to the other when he needed counsel or wished to confide his troubles to a friendly ear. Yet true it was that they spoke rarely to each other; far oftener one would see them, after the day’s work was done, walking together and, without uttering a word, gazing at the flowers and gardens, trees and sky. But when one of them bent down and shaking his head, touched a plant, the other, too would bend and, seeing the traces of caterpillars on the leave, would likewise shake his head. And both showed equal delight when they came on flowers in full and perfect bloom.
It befell on a certain day that a great merchant hired one of them and bade him accompany, for some few weeks, his caravan. But forays of predatory nomads, wars between great empires, storms and shipwrecks, deaths and disasters, divers mischances and the need to earn his living tossed the man to and from, like case buffeted by the waves, until from garden to garden, he was carried away to a far country, on the very margent of the world.
Years went by and, after half a lifetime’s silence, my gardener received a letter from his friend. God alone knows how many years that letter had been awandering; what ships and caravans, horsemen and diligences had sped it on its devious ways, with the tenacity of the myriad waves of the sea, before it reached his garden. So that morning he was beaming with delight and, wishing others to share in it, he begged me read the letter, as one begs a friend to read a poem. And watched my face, so as to see the emotion it quickened in me. True, there were but a few words, for the two gardeners were, as befitted them, handier with the spade than with the pen. Indeed all I read was: This morning I pruned my rose trees. Then, meditating on those essential things which, me-thought, cannot be expressed in words, I slowly nodded my dead as they, too would have done.
But now a change befell my gardener: his peace of mind was gone. You might have heard him sedulously enquiring as to distances, sea routes, couriers, caravans and the wars in progress on the desert’s face. Then three year later, as chance would have it, I had occasion to despatch envoys to the edge of the world. So I sent for my gardener. “Now you can write to your friend.”
Whereat my rose trees suffered a little, and in the vegetable garden, too, the caterpillars held high festival. For now he took to spending whole days in his room, jotting down phrases, crossing them out, starting again, sticking out his tongue the while, like a schoolboy poring over his lesson-book. He knew he had something most important to say, and somehow he must transport himself, lock, stock and barrel, as it were, to his absent friend. For he had to build a bridge over the sundering gulf and, communing with the friend who was his other self, across Space and Time, make known to him his love. Thus a day came when, blushing, he came to me and showed his answer, hoping to glimpse on my face a reflection of the joy that would light up that of its recipient, and to test on me the power of his message. And when I read it, I saw these words, written in a careful yet unskilled hand – earnest as a prayer coming from the heart, yet how simple and how humble! – This morning I, too, pruned my rose trees…… And could he indeed have imparted to his friend news more important than this, standing as it did for that for which, supremely, he was bartering his life, like those old women who wear their eyes out over their needlework in the making of some altarcloth for their God? And, having read, I felt silent, musing on that essential thing which I was beginning to perceive more clearly; for it was Thou, O Lord, whom they were honouring, fusing their lives together within Thee, above and beyond their rose trees…