A miracle in my garden. Or so it seems. So much had recently slipped through my fingers (a sudden death in Oslo, a sudden death at a gym on Madison Avenue, my brother’s passing on 17th Street, surgery needed by a very, very significant other) in these past weeks that I just couldn’t let this one get away.
The waxy 30 leaf Bulgarian rose bush smuggled through customs in May given by the bountiful Kovatcheva Family from Plovdiv, Bulgaria [see entry from 5/8/2016 title “Hospitality”] was planted right away, had taken root, then (courageously and steadily) grown toward the New York sky throughout this hot summer. More and more dumbfounding as it defied the odds and grew into a self-possessed, unpretentious, slim, two-foot-tall stem with minute non-threatening thorns. In early September it gave off (first) an unimagined bud, then two days ago (fully formed), an even more-unimagined fuchsia pink rose.
The last rose of Summer? The first rose of Winter?
I bent down, sat at the edge of my garden to visit the newly born rose. Though I coulen’t smell much as my nose and chest have been clogged with bronchitis, I’m certain it’s not without perfume. I admire each velvety leaf – what a proud, egoless creation! Wanting to clip it for my greedy pleasure, I resist. I’ll leave it on it’s bush and cut it in a day or two.
Yesterday afternoon and all last night pounding rain fell from the sky in sheets. I knew I’d made a terrible mistake leaving the rose outside. How could such a delicacy survive this battering? Lines from a Jane Kenyon poem* came to mind –
Everything blooming bows down in the rain:
white irises, red peonies; and the poppies
with their black and secret centers
Lie shattered on the lawn.
I couldn’t sleep, regretted my failure to snip/covet/shelter, rather than love it and leave it be.
No comfort came from Bulgarian folk music [listen if you like] – “One Rose of Bulgaria” sung by Zara] nor old saws like “Rose rose I love you” sung by Frankie Laine in 1951, nor a guided meditation titled – “Sound Relaxations” including light raindrops and gentle synths that (instead) crunched like termites eating the room around me … eating everything. Thomas Moore helped a bit with
‘TIS THE LAST ROSE OF SUMMER***
‘TIS the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone ;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone ;
No flower of her kindred,
No rose-bud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.
I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one !
To pine on the stem ;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.
So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie wither’d,
And fond ones are flown,
Oh ! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone ?
My Catherine Mansfield Project by Kirsty Gunn helped also.
At some point the rain stopped, I must have slipped into a deep sleep because I remember dreaming of a bicycle whose tires were inflating like balloons as I bounced rather than rolled along a Dutch canal. Dawn came at 6:10 a.m. bringing a very blue, very clean sky with it; a refreshed world.
My dear one’s surgery had gone well. I’d missed my friend’s service at Frank Campbell’s Chapel but someone has saved me a program. The light, pure and swoon-worthy. In my garden, I held my breath. At season’s end, much is overgrown, so I couldn’t get a glimpse of my little patch from afar. When I reached it I saw
but thought again, still weak from bronchitis. I brought the rose with my coffee back to bed and stretched-out on one side of the bed, the rose tucked in beside me.
Through the next top-ups of coffee, my eyes zero closer and closer into each and every leaf.“The Last Rose of Summer” sung by Celtic Women in 1974 ]] [[[***Thomas Moore (1779-1852) ]]]