Thursday, September 16, 2010

Morning Glories, Kevin McCarthy and the Twilight Zone

"We love a rose because we know it will soon be gone. Who ever loved a stone?"

Kevin McCarthy delivered those lovely words, written by Charles Beaumont, from my television screen last night. We were watching the Twilight Zone episode, "Long Live Walter Jameson," in honor of McCarthy's passing earlier this week.

I thought of that line today when I walked outside to admire my morning glories. It's quite a crop, if I do say so myself. I counted 34 of them this morning.

Know what? By tonight every one of them will be gone. The flowers close up and don't re-open. On some hot days, they don't even make it 'til noon.

It's the nature of morning glories. They open as the sun falls on them (as if to trumpet the morning -- hence their name). And they don't last more than a day. They have a shelf life even shorter than a rose.

Amazingly, there might be just as many new ones tomorrow.

There's something special about this kind of transitory beauty, and the way it can replenish itself. It's both temporary and eternal at the same time.

I guess, as people, we're the same way. In most ways, we're temporary. But it's nice to know that Mr. McCarthy, who left us at 96, lived long enough to see his TV episode enjoyed and preserved for generations to follow. We heard his voice on the commentary last night, marveling at the quality of the print and saying very nice things about the actors he worked with.

It's a shame that the writer of the episode, Charles Beaumont, and the show's creator, Rod Serling, didn't live to see how long their work would survive them. Beaumont died at just 38; Serling was only 50. I hate that. But it does show that we don't always know how much of a mark we're going to leave.

The TV episode we watched last night first aired 50 years ago. Fifty years!

It's lasted a heck of a lot longer than a rose. Or a morning glory.

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