Sunday, June 20, 2010
When A Rose Is More Than A Rose
Even though I’m feeling like my travel opportunities are grounded for a while, I continue to strive to keep a little of Europe in my everyday life. As I’m writing this, my first real post, I’m sitting in my back yard. One of the things I have been keenly aware of on my trips to Germany and France have been the profusion of flowers everywhere – hanging from the windows, decorating the entrances of restaurants and buildings, growing lushly in back yard gardens and for sale at markets everywhere.
My grandfather was a farmer and expert gardener. Along with vegetables that he grew to feed his family, his greatest joy was pampering and fussing over his beloved roses that flourished in his care. Unfortunately his gardening gene didn’t make it into my DNA. Though my own garden appears verdant; it is rife with weeds and pests. My roses battle aphids, underground rodents eat the tulip bulbs, a raccoon dealt a killing blow to my ash tree and even though the demonic campanula is easy to yank out, like a bully I know it will be back with friends to gang up on the lilies and penstamons. I’m sure my grandfather fought these same battles. I can only think he had a better battle plan and a lot more time.
Even though my roses and other flowers manage to survive with little thanks to me, this space makes me extraordinarily happy. When the shit hits the fan, and it has, it reminds me that things will return to normal and beauty endures. Having been displaced from his home on the coast of Poland (then Prussia) and relocated to a refugee camp near Hamburg, my grandfather and his family endured plenty of hardships. Growing things was practical, it provided food. However, the only reason for growing a rose or any flower is to enjoy its loveliness – something Europeans have known for centuries and something I intend to do all summer long.