Ahhh… The Rose
My love of roses began at the age of three while playing in my grandparent’s garden in California. The sweetness, the colors and their outpouring of love to me. My grandfather’s love in tending to the roses. My memories are through photos, traced back by a love that continued to grow with them, and with roses, for I never returned to that garden after we moved.
*Roses appear in songs, poetry, occasions of love.
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.
*The Yellow Rose of Texas, a memory from a song, after we moved from Dallas, Texas to Minneapolis, Minnesota. The melody lingers on.
*My high school boyfriend brought me a dozen long stem red roses, instead of a corsage for the prom; a romantic gesture of our friendship and love.
*My second husband and I both had a love of roses, so a friend sang, The Rose, at our wedding.
Some say love, it is a river, that drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor, that leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love, it is a hunger, an endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower, and you, its only seed
It’s the heart afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance
It’s the dream afraid of waking, that never takes the chance
It’s the one who won’t be taking, who cannot seem to give
And the soul afraid of dying, that never learns to live
When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed, that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose
Written by Gordon Mills
An article by Anne Balogh describes the perfect words to see how growing and appreciating roses will teach you about life:
Know your roots
Find the right site
Time it right
Water and feed
Prune to remove the old and create room for blooming
Keep them healthy
Show them off
Roses have been great teachers throughout my life. Here is one story:
A personal story of healing: Learning to smell the roses
During the last few months of my husband’s life, in the spring of 2005, I was inspired to plant one red rose bush next to the street, at the bottom of a long driveway that led to our home. My husband had multiple myeloma cancer and was receiving regular chemo and radiation at the hospital close to our home. On the way home from the hospital, I would drive slowly and stop in front of the rose bush for him to see the beauty. We had exhausted all the possibilities of a recovery. His cancer was in the late stages when it was discovered and none of the treatments were working. I was looking for ways to provide comfort and beauty among the thorns of cancer.
As I looked out at our yard one morning, the inspiration came to plant 100 feet of roses and create a living memorial. We had talked about building a split rail fence all along the perimeter of the yard, as a backdrop to evergreen trees planted every December, after we had used them in the house as our Christmas trees. I could also see that planting roses in front of the trees would add more colors. Neighbors would be able to walk by the house and smell the roses.
With this inspiration, I organized a “barn raising” where I asked friends to help us install the fence. The dream was to finish it in one day. A group of about 40 friends showed up to install the fence and move wheelbarrows of dirt and mulch. Some of them drove eight hours and stayed the night in local hotels. It was a beautiful day of a community coming together to celebrate a life while my husband was still alive. I did not tell him the rose garden was a memorial to him, I told him I wanted him to have something beautiful to look at and to know the fence was completed. This was the last time that many of our friends and family saw my husband, Hurley, alive.
With the fence in place, I worked on the garden every day, digging holes and planting roses. It was a chakra garden. Red, orange, yellow, green (pink), blue, violet, white. I chose colors and names to enhance the energy. Peace Rose. Our Lady of Guadalupe. April in Paris. Beloved. Every day my husband walked down the driveway to the garden and watched the progress I was making. He took time to look at nature, eat figs and apples off the trees in our yard and to smell the roses. Hurley died on July 28, 2005.
Several years after my husband died, I decided to sell my house and move from Maryland to California. My youngest daughter and I moved into an apartment instead of renting or buying a house. For the first time in five years, I didn’t have a rose garden to tend and nurture, another one of the dreams I let go of after my husband died.
One day, I was shopping at a grocery store and I saw a garden store with roses. I stopped and smelled about 10 varieties, finding roses that were very familiar to me. The next day, I went for a walk and discovered a neighborhood with roses blooming and hanging over the fences. Just as people had stopped to smell the roses in my garden, I stopped and smelled the roses in my neighbor’s yards.
I thought about how I had been feeling sad because I didn’t have my own rose garden. I asked myself, where do I get stuck in life because the picture doesn’t look like the one I used to have? Where is the joy that is right in front of me, now?
When I changed my perspective, I began to see and enjoy roses everywhere. The roses along the street on my daily walk. Roses in the farmer’s market. A woman giving me a rose when I went to church. Walking on a street, I noticed the road sign: Rose Street. Now, I live in a world of roses and I have a beautiful memory of the rose garden. Thinking about it brings a smile to my face, as I continue to walk through neighborhoods, all over the world, and smell the roses.
I say love, it is a flower, and you, its only seed ~The Rose