Grandma’s rose

As much as I love gardening and flowers and a pretty yard, I’m not much of a gardener.   I’m kind of lazy when it comes to tending the vegetation around my house.  But the other day I got a nice surprise.

After Grandma’s funeral last spring, as we were packing up to return from Connecticut, my mom offered me some plants that had been given by friends as condolences.  I chose a small tea rose, knowing my inability to nurture house plants.  I figured this lovely, delicate bloomer was not intended to last that long, so when it went it wouldn’t be my fault.  I’d get to enjoy it for a few months, as I mourned my Grandma and Grandpa, both now gone, and its beauty might help as I struggled to take solace in the memories of my short time with them.

So it hung around in my dining room, perched in front of the big, sunny windows, and it bloomed for a while.  When the last petals faded, I was surprised to see that the leaves and stem remained healthy.  After the June rains, when I got motivated to dig a new bed in the backyard for some perennials, I added the rose.  What did I have to lose?

Again, I was surprised each day at its survival.  Normally I try to choose plants that don’t require much from me — no pruning, good in drought conditions — definitely not a rose.  Maybe thanks to a somewhat wet and cool summer, the little rose dug in and grew.

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Then the other day.  There it was.  A single bloom in the bright September sun, opening just as the kids started their new year at school.

I’ll enjoy the little bloom while it can.  I don’t know what to do with the plant to ensure it comes back next spring.  Maybe it will, maybe it won’t.  Because that’s the way things work.  You do the best you can, but so much is beyond your control.  At some point you have to step back, bask in the wonder of the ever-changing, unpredictable, and often glorious nature of the world we have such a short time to live in.  Much of the time, there’s not much more you can do.  

The wonder of this rose, that it hung on, flourished, even, has nothing to do with me, I’m sure.  But maybe my grandparents’ love had something to do with it.

And maybe that’s the key to it all, what you can always do when nothing else seems possible.  

You can love.

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