My knockout rose is in bloom again, bold and bright as it joyfully turns its face to the sky. I am pausing to admire when I realize that it looks several shades darker than when I planted the bush last year. Could it be the soil? The weather? Or perhaps the rose itself has decided it needed a different look?
Change is a fact of life, I think, and then I remember the game of ‘roses’ that my book club—a wonderful group that has been together for over forty years— played so many years ago.
On that long ago evening we were given paper and pencil and instructed to answer the question: “If you were a rose, what kind of rose would you be?” Decades younger when the game was suggested, energized by a spirited discussion of that month’s book and made mellow by the hostess’s decadent dessert, we all agreed. So, chuckling good naturedly, I scribbled that I would be an apricot climber growing on a rocky cliff that overlooked a waterfall.
What a drama queen! And some of the others’ answers were revelatory of character, too. The ‘rose’ I remember most was that of one friend’s unopened bud. “Will the bud ever open?” We asked, but she only shrugged and said time would tell.
Years later, I played the game again with a different group, and my rose had changed dramatically. No waterfalls and no rocky cliffs for me—I was now a pale pink Peace Rose in a garden full of flowers.
How the times have changed
And the re-invented self
Seeks different light.
I don’t know which rose you would have chosen to be back then or choose to be now (try it—it really is fun!), but I do know that as the years pass we re-invent ourselves. For sure I have done so more than a few times. Life experiences have shaded my perceptions of the world; of choice or necessity I have put aside some goals and found new ones. I suspect it is the same for most, if not all of us. If we are lucky, the years that have shaped our characters have been gentle, but even the raw, bitter times may have stiffened the spine and fostered both understanding and patience. We all know friends who have mellowed and grown wise through the years so that to be with them is a delight and a nourishment for the spirit. Other friends have become brittle and bitter; their petals, once fragrant and full of the joy of life, have been shriveled with frost. Their thorns keep us at a distance.
For myself, I look across the years at my young and self-important self and smile. The rose that I once was may hold my deepest essence, but it has had to change in order to grow and prosper. Now, knowing all that, I hope that time and change will always find me rejoicing in life’s garden like my knockout rose.
Though summers have changed
The bright sun is always there
To warm the spirit.