I have always loved roses. I think they are so beautiful and smell so wonderful. I’ve never had a place where the yard was mine to do with as I please, but I often get the small potted miniature roses. Or at least whenever I have access to a good sunny window and the time to care for them.
Even though I have never had my own rose garden, I always used to watch both my mother and my grandmother painstakingly tending to their roses. This task involves not only attending to the soil (fertilizing, weeking, watering, aerating) but also requires a lot of seasonal maintenance and especially pruning.
The pruning is best done in the fall before it cools down or in the spring before the new growth sprouts out. Long runner branches are cut back with the attempt of influencing the new growth that will evolve the following season.
I got to thinking of this labor of love recently while obsessing over someone I have recently lost. I have a very bad habit of obsessing in such situations – likely I am not the only one – but as a result of the problems that led up to this sad ending, as well as some external items on her part, I was particularly annoying and the behavior not only unwelcome but quite unconstructive.
I once sang a song by Michel Legrand, “You must believe in spring”. In that song one of the verses speaks of the ‘winter rose’ that ‘awaits the kiss of May’. In the sad aftermath, melancholy songs have been running through my head constantly including this one. It got me to thinking of pruning a rose bush before the winter freeze – in this case, the rose being analogous to the relationship.
I pictured myself in the waining days of late fall and early winter – still pruning away at a rose that did grow as desired during the previous summer. Trying this and that – nipping here – nipping there. Nipping at parts to far and well beyond the dates when it was considered ‘safe’ for the health of the plant. In my obsession to save the plant, I was contributing to it’s demise.
I’m doing my best to resist the temptation to prune any further. The rose may not bloom ever again – anything that does grow may never reach the glory I would prefer. It might even die all together due to the excesses I have already done to it. But I must step back and just let things happen.
Sure, even with such a wounded thing, there are still things that can be done to help. If I can just keep my mind on such things (keeping it warm and protected from whatever extremes I can) but I must restrict my intrusions further and just let the rose await it’s own kiss of May.
But alas, I am left to mostly just hope… hope that someday our rose may again bloom beautifully. And maybe, just maybe, more beautifully then before.