I remember my first brave adventures on my own, barefoot and tan, racing down the dirt road south of our farm to an old wooden bridge spanning Little Turtle Creek in central South Dakota. There I found an abundance of these intoxicatingly fragrant, pink, wild roses thriving along the banks of the creek. I loved to lie beneath them in the summer inhaling their fragrant beauty and listening to the wind rippling across the long grasses of the pasture.
During a particularly difficult time in my life the wild prairie rose began to carry an extra special significance for me. At the age of 32 I made a special 4 hour drive back to that creek, dug out 2 or 3 healthy plants with my bare hands, wrapped the roots in a wet towel and transplanted them into my own garden. They love their new home and blossom profusely! They are taking over everything! The other night as I was lying on my belly, very very carefully trying to weed around the base of the roses I remembered a couple of quotes that had become very meaningful to me during the hard times.
The first says, “Por el amor de una rosa, el jardinero es serviente de mil espinas.”
In order for the gardener to earn the love of a single rose he must be servant to a thousand thorns. How much like life this is. Sometimes we too must endure many painful lacerations for a singular occasion of beauty.
The other quote is by Heine “Rabbi of Bacharach” which says “He who reaches with a clumsy hand for a rose must not complain if the thorns scratch.”
Yes, sometimes we bring trouble on ourselves but these words remind me there will be times when others avoid us or won’t risk intimacy with us because they have not treated our souls gently and were “pierced” as a result of their own clumsiness or lack of attentiveness.