Thursday, June 19, 2008

The beauty and humor of my roses

We know there is no shortage of Rose worship, be it herbalists, gardeners, romantics, or otherwise. Yet when the year has turned and they come back as if a dream returned, it brings such blissful newness that it's as though it were the first time they appeared. And since today was the day for me to worship the roses in my garden, I'll join the parade of Rose writers.

When the day is perfect and the blossoms are plenty, I remind myself of the preciousness of the moment. In the blink of an eye they will be withered and gone, making way for the winter's hips. Since I am not working right now, I have to be a resourceful herbalist. I have Rose tinctures from previous harvests, so I am not too bothered by not having alcohol.
I am leading our Monthly Maiden Circle tomorrow night, so I gathered some for a cool tea for the ladies. I also still had some apple cider vinegar left, so I made a Sunburn Vinegar with Roses, Peppermint, and Lemon Balm, reminded to me by Kiva's recent Rose post.
Not being able to resist the urge to eat the roses, I made a decadent snack. I happened to have bought whole milk vanilla yogurt, so it was new with all the thick cream on top. I spooned just that into my bowl, and adorned it with bananas, shaved dark chocolate, and rose petals. Talk about heart food.
I have to admit I've been smitten with Rose for some years. As a teen I didn't like it at all, probably because I had smelled too many bad rose perfumes. You really have to be around real roses to get the full effect. When we moved here, I was in love with the fact that several rosebushes were already established. I had become familiar with the sensual, heart healing, aphrodisiac and balancing properties through my studies in aromatherapy. In fact, if I think back further, I remember my Mom's Rosy Glow Face cream that she made when apprenticing with Rosemary Gladstar, back in '93 I think. To this day I adore her Rosy Glow cream. I followed in her footsteps, studying not just how to make a rose cream to die for (or live for!) but all about her incredible multi-talented healing properties. How she is revered in Ayurveda for deeply balancing the blood and uterus, how in Europe she is revered for her delicate tea, and in Mayan healing will stop a birthing mother from a dangerous hemorrhage. When sadness sets in, she pulls the hormones into a softer space. When anger strikes, she tames with clarity and a steady pulse. When heat fogs, she cools. When hurt scathes and cuts, she cures and settles. Any ailments of the eyes are soothed and relieved, and any baby would be amiss of daily ails with only rose remedies. My summers would now be incomplete without my annual jar of rose petal jam from my Mom, who gathers them from the scented beaches of Cape Cod. The Rose is truly an apothecary unto herself. I once started "A Rose Apothecary"and maybe someday I'll actually finish it. The small Rose Apothecary pictured here is one of my most favorite little old herbals.


The lessons from Rose are many. While moving in slow motion through the heavy, thorny boughs, I pondered what Rose wanted me to know. I had one of those unpoetical moments, where a commercial came to mind instead of a profound voice. Mind you, I watch next to no tv, so unfortunately the commercial is also outdated. Remember the saying "don't hate me because I'm beautiful"? Yeah, that one. Rose is trying to tell me something about beauty, I realize. See, I'm that girl. I'm the one who looks stunning on stage, and peculiar in person - kind of like the Seinfeld girlfriend who was hideous at one angle and stunning in the next. It's blessed and cursed me as you probably guessed. I get it from both angles, both men and women, and myself. I get the one's who leave me confused when they jokingly say "you're too pretty. bitch." or "I hate you". Then there are the ones who I'd like to be friends with, but flat out avoid me because they can't be with someone with the potential to steal their spotlight. From the guys, well you pretty much can guess all of that. So without getting dreary here, I'll just say I was very lonely for most of my childhood and adolescence.



Rose seems to understand perfectly. There is a time and a space for beauty, which is basically when it feels like showing up. When it does, it does it unabashedly and with sheer exuberance. It does so with uniqueness - not "perfection". It does so with prolific, unbounded love and generosity. It does so with clear boundaries. It stays as long as it plans, and then leaves.



Why then, should I shy away from my beauty? From feeling beautiful? From feeling beautiful, and generous, and clear, all at once? Rose teaches me to be self centered - not ego centered. Rose reminds me to exist as abundant, romantic, blessed, creative, and feminine. And, of course, not to take everything so seriously.