Life lessons from a rose at its best
I’ve always thought that a rose is at its very best just before it dies. When in bud a rose is elegant; almost like a young girl ready to ripen into the fulness of her adult beauty. When it starts to open, the flower begins to form a pleasing curved shape, almost like a small teacup, delicately scooping up and inwards, before spreading outwards again opening into a multi layered, but still complex bundle of petals. But my favourite stage is the point just before a rose begins to die, when its petals have spread to their widest in an attempt to gather as much possible light and air. It is at this stage that the shape and the fullness of the rose is at its most sumptuous and generously bounteous. All of its multiple petals have curved outwards showing the rich layering of its structure, like a dense lacy undergarment from the Victorian age, and it’s cupcake shape has spread further resembling more of a regal crown with its abundant beauty spread wide to capture the widest admiring audience.
But as beautiful as the rose is at this stage, you know that it is but days away from death and decay; when the edges of those sumptuously soft petals begin to turn, go brown and shrivel, until the petals start falling one by one, unveiling beneath their elegant cluster the uglier stamen at the flower’s centre.
It was as I was staring, enchanted, by a beautiful bunch of orangey-peach roses in my lounge the other day that I contemplated this life cycle, admiring both the beauty of the roses as the whole bunch had expanded into a sea of mango-coloured wonder, but also reflecting, somewhat sadly, that this array of perfectly placed colour is but a transient creation, soon to shrivel up and diminish. But what it also made me realise is that while on the one hand it seems ironic that something can be at its most beautiful when it is at its closest to death, there is also a life lesson to be learnt here: that nothing lasts for ever, and happiness, joy, and beauty are all things which are transient. If that isn’t a reason to enjoy life to the full, and to reflect upon and appreciate the best of every moment, at every opportunity, I don’t know what is.
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