Sunday, January 9, 2011

Roses in December

"God created memory that we might have roses in December"
Italo Svevo

Don't worry. I do realize it's January but there is such wisdom in that quote. All those thoughts of hot steamy summers with flowers blooming reminds me that winter is only temporary.

Along the eastern coast in Central Florida lies a beautiful state park. Washington Oaks Gardens gently boasts a quiet, natural setting in the salt marsh. Great blue herons, white ibis, manatees, and the occasional bald eagle welcome visitors into their living room. At a perfect moment, you could watch the sun set over the marsh at the same time you behold the moon rising over the Atlantic Ocean.

One of the short trails spills out into a beautiful rose garden. Every type and color of the flower can be found in this horticultural miracle. Unless the garden has been damaged by a rare cold November, hikers will actually see roses in December. Red, yellow, pink, orange, white. Large, small, fully open, still in bulbs. It truly is an amazing spectacle.

One December I drove up to the park just to see the roses. To my utter shock, there were none. Not a single bud on any of the bushes. It looked like a graveyard for dead flowers. Sadness rushed from the well of my soul and erupted, spilling tears down my cheeks to the dry dirt below.

I remembered how plush the flowers were the last time I'd visited. I closed my eyes and could see the roses display their splendor. Their unmistakeble fragrance filled my senses. I opened my eyes and could see, if only in my mind's eye, gorgeous roses in full bloom. It was as vivid as if the flowers were within my touch.

Today I remember that December of long ago. I inhale the sweet aroma of rose. Their colors dance in my eyes. Memory. Precious here-and-nows that were deposited in my banks. How valuable they are today.

Thank God for memories. Thanks to that precious gift, I can have roses in December or snowflakes in August. I can identify with what my character is experiencing right now. I know how they feel. I can sense their pain, their thoughts, why they make the decisions they make. I write a better scene because I'm right there with them.

Roses. In December. Only the wealthy would dare. I'm rich with memories. It just doesn't get much better than that.

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