One evening this week, as a storm was brewing in the distance, I plucked the petals from my fading climbing rose. The wind was picking up, and raindrops were just beginning to fall, but the sun was still shining as I worked to collect the petals. Mom was drying peony petals for potpourri, and we thought the rose petals would add a nice aroma, so I worked to gather them before the promised storm blew them away.
You know how it is when a summer storm is on the horizon - there's energy in the air, and the distant roll of thunder creates as sense of anticipation, and excitement. It's coming, it's coming! I think the emotional energy of the storm heightened my awareness of the rose as I plucked the soft petals.
You love the roses - so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!
- Roses by George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans
That's what I'm telling myself anyway, that the weather is to blame for the sentimental thoughts I had while plucking petals. I thought, "oh well, spring is over and you, poor rose, will not be as beautiful as you were until next year, sigh... and I may not be living here next year, so this bloom may have been my last, and now it's over, sigh... I'm sorry I never cured you of your disease so you never reached your full potential, and now it's too late, sigh...I'm going to miss you rose... rose, I love you!" Well, I don't know if I actually declared my love for the rose, but I was getting sort of gushy in my brain, and then I realized that maybe I was finally getting it, I might be finally feeling what poets, songwriters, and classic lovers feel when they go all deep about roses!
O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
- The Sick Rose by William Blake
The raindrops began to fall, and I realized that maybe I was indulging in romantic thoughts about rose themed poetry because the wind chimes were responding to the approaching storm by adding mood enhancing music to my work. Actually, as the wind would rock the roses, the chimes would respond with the same intensity. It's like the roses were chiming! I recorded the video above of the chiming climbing rose to share, and because I thought I might like to turn down the lights, tune out the world, read a rose poem, and watch the video someday, when I'm missing my poor neglected rose.
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, for sure, but there's something especially appealing about an entire bowl of fresh, velvet rose petals. I would say that I wished a had entire bed of roses, except as soon as I poured them from my bag into the bowl, several spiders came running out, which quickly brought me back to a more practical state of mind. At least my roses aren't coated in pesticides, but laying down in a bed of roses and spiders isn't appealing either.
When the rose is faded,
Memory may still dwell on
Her beauty shadowed,
And the sweet smell gone.
-from When the Rose is Faded by Walter de la Mare
I spread the petals on some paper on the table, and this morning I added a few handfuls of clematis and primrose petals. Maybe collecting petals is a good way to prolong the bloom experience. I enjoy looking at them even when they aren't attached to the plant. Who knew?