I love roses. My house is rarely without a bowl of the fragrant blossoms somewhere, and from early to spring to late fall, they bloom in my garden.
I know. Roses are considered by some to be way overdone. And there’s some truth to that. God created an infinite variety of flowers, from the shy violet to the brash, platter-sized sunflower. And roses have claimed far more than their share of the limelight. But what can I say? I still love them.
Right outside my front door is a huge rose bush, maybe fifteen feet high, which puts on an amazing show every spring. For about three weeks it is covered with hundreds and hundreds of fluffy pink blooms about the size of a golf ball. And then it is done. Oh, perhaps if it remembers it will put out a blossom or two after that. But you can tell its heart really isn’t in it anymore and it is thinking about other things.
My tea roses, on the other hand, are much more sedate. They are blooming now and slowly and meticulously put out a perfectly shaped rose or two or three at a time. Maybe in a burst of creativity, a mature bush will have as many as a dozen blossoms on it at once, before stopping to rest, regroup, and bloom again—all summer long. The tea rose is careful, methodical, and into perfection. It puts on a truly impressive display, but nothing like the wild, brief, extravagance of the floribunda outside my front door.
I can’t help thinking how like my roses people are when it comes to creativity. J.K. Rawlings is a floribunda if ever there was one. In a few short years, she wrote enough words to fill a library. And yes, there were those who criticized the style, syntax, and quality of her writing. But, really, who cares? The Harry Potter series was big and showy, and amazing. It is the best selling book series in history. And ended just when it should.
Others slowly create a masterpiece, or two, or maybe even three. Harper Lee has published only one book, and that in 1960. But it was To Kill a Mockingbird—found on any short list of the Great American Novel. I’ve never heard anyone criticize her writing style, or syntax.
Frankly, I’m thankful for both floribundas and tea roses. I wouldn’t want a garden in which just one lived. And I feel the same about books. Showy extravagance and perfect craft both have their place on my bookshelves—and in my garden.
So, if you were a rose, what would you be? Do you operate in a burst of enthusiastic creativity, or slowly and deliberately? Do you ever find yourself wishing you could be more like the rose you aren’t. I do.
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