Ten days of largely gray and damp weather have not inspired me to take long walks despite a few breaks in the clouds. This morning was very beautiful so off I went to do a couple of errands. I noticed that the masses of magenta colored rhododendrons have lost all their blossoms and are simple green bushes now. But, I notice the town is full of roses in bloom -- several kinds of roses both in places where they were formally planted and in places that seem casual, as if they sneaked into an empty spot just to add their touch of beauty.
I've just put in the mail, in an exchange, several "summer poems" -- some of my own and others more professional -- like Mary Oliver's "Summer Day," one of my favorites with the final thought, "What will you do with your one wild and precious life?"
Since I'm chugging away on a couple of quilts but not making photographable headway, it seems an apt time to include three in a set of rose poems I wrote when I was thinking of all the places and kinds of roses I've seen, not at all an exhaustive listing.
They sprawled down the hill behind the mailbox mere weeds like the Queen Anne's lace that sours the hands that pick it. Fragile five=petaled pink blossoms cupping a knot of messy yellow filaments, the tangled stems too short and brier-y to pick. The flowers like petulant orphaned children, pouted "Leave me alone." They hardly seemed related to the tall bush in the yard that unfurled nests of petals so red touching seemed a sacrilege. The scarlet scent proclaimed that beauty comes in many vivid dimensions. Those wild, ragged second cousins, untended and unkempt beside the gravel road, their pale faces dusty from the traffic, offered only a timid, tentative scent. Banished from the garden, so plain, so scantily attired, they would never be taken to the ball, never be worthy of romance or to symbolize ideal love.
2. Nepal - The Himalayas
Two miles high in those most magnificent anciently inhabited mountains, in a profusion of possession, wild rose brambles tangled, spreading across a desert plateau between two high passes in upper Mustang. They claimed barren acres for themselves in a field of rocks and sand and goat turds. Only a narrow foot path led through their domain. What a delight to cross that plateau in flowering season! To wade through the miracle of sudden pink or white blooms, their delicate scent thin and rare as the air it permeates. Why build chortens or mani walls to remind a traveler to wonder at the casual beneficence of a world where roses riot in such unlikely habitat?
3. Cape Cod
Well above the wave-washed ribbon of sand, among the tough dune grasses but before the hearty shoreline trees, thorny wild roses spread low. Their meager diet comes from what soil lies within and beneath the drifted sand. The salt sea winds have forced the roses to flatten their tangles like a scouring pad, impenetrable except to small flying or crawling creatures. In August their fat red hips are storage vats for vitamin C for the few who use them for tea. Amid the dangerous bramble the plenteous hips glow like glass balls hung on Christmas trees, festive but not so fragile. The shell-hard skin is polished by the wind-blasted sand to a gilded crimson that shout choruses of hallelujahs.
This strip quilt was made using drier sheet as the foundation. This quick and easy method is always fun because I can choose exactly which piece comes next but will always be surprised when I put several together and see the patterns formed.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!