Like most men of his age, and physicians especially he supposed, he was not necessarily able to take to heart-- (he was not unaware of this pun on his calling: he was the heart's colonialist and wore a broad Panama, harvester sometimes, implanter others) what he otherwise could see. Yet he tried to look at things through other's viewpoints. He thought of Lee and her microscopes and how the world for her flowed vitreous, our lives already patchwork, platelet rafts, petals on a stream.
"So it's not for using, it's for flowing," the lesson Beth learned from Lee's quilt came naturally to them both. But not to him. It was harder not to think the world was made for use. He had been brought up so, proud son to a proud father, and medicine believed as much then when he came to it. It believed so still. You found a use for what you do, you intervened in flow, not like a young boy dams the water but like the one who streams his hand behind the boat, trolling for patterns.
The scalpel found patterns of life's flowing.
He feared for Tevet (for Beth) that sometime the pure intervention of events would stop the flow. It was a father's fear of accident or murder, heartbreak or breathstop, loss or leaving. She was his chicory flower, his margin, his everpresent beauty, the measure of miles.