and out of the silent dirt
the blood-red roses rise.
– Mary Oliver, Both Worlds
The tea roses bloom in abundance in June, and reward you with blooms in bursts of fragrant joy the rest of the season. This is the time when rose petals pile up like seaweed at the edge of the surf, for the dance is so very brief for each individual flower before it rains down to the dirt to make way for the next budding star.
I’m considered a tall man, and the tea roses reach up to my height, wanting very much to overtake the neighboring crab apple tree and maybe even the oaks should they be so bold. Tea roses love to dance with the sky, to catch the breeze and perfume the air with their subtle scent. Year-after-year they return, despite the relative neglect they receive compared with the pampered annuals.
I’ve held this line from Mary Oliver in my mind since winter. I thought then of the blooming tea roses (pink, not red in the garden I’m subservient to). Winter is a time of dormancy and darkness, not at all the explosion of delight that June offers in New Hampshire. Each year the blooms are a miracle, and I gratefully celebrate their return.
For all my talk of travel and exploring the world, I bask in this short time together with the roses each year around this time. A time when the roses rise to meet me at eye level. As if to ask me, why would you ever want to leave us?