The Rose Effect

There is probably not a lot I can say about roses that hasn’t already been said. They’ve inspired many a literary word, a romantic soul, and even a song or two. They’re an enduring symbol of love, passion, beauty and sometimes, danger. There is something magical and mysterious about them. No wonder they’ve made their way into fantasy tales in so many fascinating and imaginative ways.

In my garden, there’s an old climbing rose that’s gone wild. It has been growing on our property since long before I arrived, and has sent out shoots in all directions, becoming a thick, tangled, daunting mass that always reminds me of the briar thicket in Sleeping Beauty, barricading her castle from the outside world. I’d say the wicked fairy made a good decision there. If you’ve ever been prickled by even one rose thorn, you’ll appreciate what an effective deterrent that could be, and the courage of a prince who ventured to tackle such a formidable defence, especially one that’s enchanted and grows back as fast as it’s chopped down. If he’s willing to endure that, he’s worthy of at least a date with the princess.

The rose is a ticking clock in Beauty and the Beast, its dropping petals counting down the days left until time runs out for the prince. Appropriately, it is love he must find before the last petal falls. I like the way this concept is given a creative, modern twist in the movie Beastly, where, one by one, the blooms disappear from the tattoo on Kyle’s arm.

In the movie Pleasantville, it is a vibrant red rose that stands out in a bland, black and white world, a stark and appropriate symbol of passion beginning to stir. Its appearance is perfect, beautiful and fascinating, but at the same time, riveting, because you know something momentous is about to happen.

In my real world, roses represent the fulfilment of a dream. I’ve always wanted a rose garden, but something held me back. I’ve never been a great gardener, and I think I was a little afraid to attempt roses. Just over a year ago, I decided the time had come, and planted a row of pretty pink and white rose bushes. Now, I wonder what took me so long.

It did require a little bit of learning, and a little bit of time and effort, but effort brings reward. This summer I’ve enjoyed not only a profusion of colourful blooms and their delicate fragrances, but I’ve also had the pleasure of peaceful hours watering and snipping, relaxing and destressing from my day. Pottering amongst roses, of course, gives plenty of time for my imagination to wander.

There must be a place for a rose or two in one of my stories…

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