Monday, May 23, 2011
I'm worried about the Heirloom. Although its trunk looks thick and healthy, the buds seem to wilt too easily in the sun. The Chrysler Imperial alongside seems indestructible in comparison, and the neighboring Antique has exploded in bountiful pink blossoms, but the darn Heirloom gives me daily fits.
It is an essentially optimistic statement to tend the rose garden in a rented house, an act made all the more transient when the property is for sale. The daily watering and tending is juxtaposed with nice lady realtors in Lexus SUV's showing the property to prospective new owners. Whoever they turn out to be, I can't help but hope that they have a fondness for roses.
I guess I'm surprised that I've seen then this far along already. I cut them severely back to twigs in February, and wondered if I'd even see then start to grow back. But roses want to grow, and given the most rudimentary care, will bounce back. The new shoots started to appear within two weeks. I had buds for Easter, and a multicolored cascade of roses for Mother's Day.
I wonder aloud who will care for them when I move on. I'm only here for what seems like a momentary respite, and in that short time, these living things have grown dependent on me for basic care. Perhaps I depend on them as well for a reminder that I can still make an impact, albeit a tiny one, in this spinning green orb.
It's not lost on me that caring for the roses is allegorical, that in tending flowers in a transient rose garden I am somehow symbolizing so many people whose world has spun out of control and who are trying to reclaim even the tiniest parts of it again. I can't undo the damage caused by unchallenged greed on Wall Street, and I can't find jobs for all who need them, but I can make flowers grow in the garden and talk to them and tend them for whomever comes along next. I'm not saying we can heal society with such singularly insignificant gestures, but perhaps we can begin to heal ourselves.