Ponder this:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Roses in Midwinter

On Administrative Assistants' Day a few years ago somebody gave me a little rose plant. It was one of those four-inch foil-wrapped plastic pots that supermarkets price at $4.99 and put on display for desperate giftgivers. The blooms were the definitive rose pink, a color my petite, dark-complected, dark-eyed mother adored all her life.

I had never really cared for pink. It seemed vapid, coy, just too cutesy girly-girly for me. I would not wear pink in fear of a distasteful resemblance to Petunia Pig. Probably nobody but me remembers Petunia Pig, but Petunia's image, superimposed over mine, robust of body and pale of face and hair in the mirror, was quite vivid to me.

The first summer the rose enjoyed outdoor life and grew a little, didn't bloom enough to notice. When the cold winds began to blow Husband brought it inside and pruned it from its 10" height to almost half that size.
(I had been resigned to letting it die, sure that it would never overwinter successfully. And I no longer cared for the person who'd given it to me.)
He pruned the plant within an inch of its life and, lo and behold, in January of that year the determined little thing grew tiny new Kelly green leaves and branches thinner than toothpicks.

Last April two things happened.

  1. Pink began to appeal to me. All shades and intensities of pink...pale pearl necklaces, bright fuschia silk blouses, coral pink pendants...rose pink nail polish!
  2. And I gave Rose a new home in a big pot, full of as they say, "well-rotted," or perhaps not so very well-rotted, manure from a neighbor's cowbarn. I set her on the front porch among all the other baskets and buckets and urns full of bright petunias and geraniums and dahlias. By August she had become The Queen, covered, absolutely burgeoning, with luscious pink blossoms.
When we brought Rose inside for the winter, she had won me over and I was the one who cut her back so she could again acclimate to an indoor home to wait patiently for next summer.

A few weeks ago, Rose started to grow leggy: I began to think about doing a little snipping. When I looked to see where I might lop off a branch growing too long for beauty, I found that she was preparing tiny buds all over.

I am quite a casual caretaker of plants. I like to think of my style as benign neglect. All she's doing is sitting near a window and getting a drink every now and then from the dogs' water dish when that needs refilling.

In the past few days, Rose has presented me with gifts of several small and brilliantly, gloriously, sumptuously, beautifully pink blooms.

Does Rose not know that it is cold, dark January?

I am beginning to believe that there is a lesson here to be learned, or a message to be heard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Sadly, whenever I welcome one of those delightfully miniature rose bushes into my home, the eventually get infested with spider mites. I'd rather not give too much thought to what the lesson might be that's hidden in that...