What could be more banal than this photo of our old air conditioner? Yeah, it is old — over twenty years old. When it was installed, I decided that it was silly to have a rose bush behind it. So, as best I could, working in the narrow confines between the AC unit and the wall, I took my trusty spade and dug, poked, and hacked at the plant. I did my best to get rid of it. Hacked it off well below surface level. Thought I had succeeded in eliminating it. Now, I’m thrilled that I failed.
Slowly, steadily, it grew back. Some fifteen years or so later, fifteen years of total neglect, fifteen years of struggling for life between an air conditioner and a wall, it produced a bloom — a single rose.
Every year since, it has produced a few beautiful red roses.
A few houses up, our neighbours have a full rose bush of exactly the same type. But I am moved by our scrawny little plant with its three or four flowers. I almost get sentimental about it. It does what it can, living in the circumstances in which it does: in a few inches of parched shade between a desiccating AC and a wall.
Nature can teach us lessons if we will allow it. There are probably several that this rose bush can teach, but for one, it brings to my mind the adage: “Bloom where you’re planted.” We aren’t all planted in equally fertile ground. Some are not nurtured as much as others. The circumstances that nature and nurture combine to give each person are not equal. Yet, is it not wondrous when a person manages to produce gorgeous flowers, be they few or many? Is it not even a tiny bit miraculous?
You see: there is something about this rose that I appreciate and admire more than it’s more bountiful brothers and sisters. It does what it can, and in doing so, it moves me.