And he heard a voice inside him appeal: 'Don't give of yourself, give up yourself.' For isn't that what he had done, for the first time in his life? He had given himself up, totally, to this woman, this gift to his life. He had allowed himself to feel a love that made him vulnerable without fear. She could do with him as she chose, and he would gladly give his life for hers. How had it come to pass that w, after nearly half a century of living, after cultivating a self-contained life for himself, one little woman managed to sneak into his heart to tear down all his defenses? Something miraculous had happened. She had rescued him from the desolate landscape where he had resided for most of his life, that bleak, dark place where he had hidden for all the years of his forsaken existence, and he savored the newfound paradise at his fingertips. Suddenly, he was struck with clarity, understanding at last the mystery contained within Raintree County, the book that he reread year after year. Its author had described love as A tall, imperious bloom.