After orchids, the rose is my favorite flower. Its unmatchable beauty and famous symbolism have inspired my “Stop and Smell the Roses” parties over the years. Roses forever stir the poet and lover and philosopher in me.
A stalky rosebush grows at the edge of my driveway, just where I pull up and park every day. I imagine it could be nearly as old as my 75-year-old house. Constant and kind, my tall rose greets me upon arriving home and bids adieu when leaving. Just seeing it makes me happy. And it makes me think, too. Sitting in the car, before turning off the engine or driving away, I often take a moment to breathe in its metaphorical messages. Day to day, season to season, it seems to have something new and important to say.
Bare of blooms and thorny, sometimes draped in ice or laced with snow in winter, its stems and its leaves stay green throughout. Budding feverishly at the hint of spring, it bodes a host of hopes yet to come. Bowed with bursts of blossoms before summer, it beckons boldness with humbleness. Sometimes, I am tempted to oblige with a quick curtsy for its gracious and welcoming bow. The weeks pink petals litter the pathway, I’m convinced it has strewn them just to make my day.
The other day I came home to find my rosebush lying prone across the driveway. It had fallen over from the weight of wild new growth and from the neglect of an admiring but challenged gardener. Roots intact and still vibrant, it just needed pruning and a secure fastening to its trellis. Yet another message. A reminder of life’s delicate balancing act. Stretching, growing, climbing, reaching can its toll. This I know. While I have taken time to do some pruning and can show scratches for proof, struggles in keeping my own balance have kept me from re-anchoring it. So, it still blocks my driveway.
Yesterday as I drove up, a surprise. There, in the spindly, thorny mass that has sprawled the drive for days, perhaps weeks now, a single blossom. One rose eked out by my fatigued floral friend. A tiny gift. And a monumental message. Even when weary from this world’s weight, keep doing your thing. — VF