The Rose

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I remember her smile, her hands, her long fingers as they delicately removed the outer petals of an overgrown rose in our garden, granting it the gift of temporary perfection. Had I not remembered it, trimming that rose would have been a gesture lost in the immensity of space, in the eternity of time, gone with the unknown lives of countless generations who haven’t understood their mortality and the ephemeral quality of their every thought. But the whole of her expression told me that this wasn’t a meaningless event; the very essence of our nature was contained in that simple gesture, and it was my duty to understand it, to remember it, to pass it on. The pursuit of meaning and fulfillment in our lives, and its seeming lack of consequence when faced with the inevitability of our departures, were symbolized by that one rose, standing there perfect once again for a tiny fragment of time. A trivial achievement when placed in context with the rest of reality, yet a superb example of our spirit, of our willingness to make things better, to bring the world around us in line with our visions. The rose was that desired life, a state of balance that couldn’t last, but in the meantime, it could be perfect: a paradoxical mix of natural and creative input.

That is how she was herself: a living, breathing, walking paradox. The depth of her mind a wellspring of revelations, a vast library whose true content I never had an opportunity to explore completely, but from which my own creativity stemmed and flourished. She placed my early mind in an almost mystical environment, in a world of her own making, always full of sensory experiences: music of birds, air perfumed by flowers and fruits and lush vegetation, nights under the stars, a feeling of peaceful solitude permeating our everyday life. Life was a rose garden, an oasis in the middle of the desert. That metaphor continues to live in me, and I will bear its mark until the day I dissolve back into the universe.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.


Pomona, California
May 2001

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