It's definitely fall, a season by any other name would not be this cold almost overnight. If I put it into true perspective this has been a bit slower than that but there's no denying that only a few weeks ago I was still wearing sun dresses and sandals and today I needed to wear a jacket to take a trip to a local bakery. I had the most delicious Boston cream filled vanilla cupcake I have ever had in my life and it was gluten free, not because I hate gluten. I LOVE gluten with all my heart but my body objects strenuously and most vehemently. But I digress. Last month I was biting into red tomatoes warmed by the sun and the juice was running over my hands. Then, in contrast, yesterday I busily picked off as many useable green tomatoes as I could before the killing frost came to take them away overnight.
I wandered through my garden and groaned over the wilted squash vines that grew to twenty feet from a tiny seed that planted myself and are now reduced to grey mush. I touched the purple leaves of the aromatic basil that gave of itself endlessly throughout the summer. It gave not only to myself but to the bees that drank from its' blooms. We shared the crop and this winter we'll enjoy the honey and the pesto sauce and remember the short life it lived. I went into my greenhouse and touched the pepper plants that I brought inside for the winter and felt their thankfulness at the reprieve that their brethren didn't get. I checked the roots growing in water from the same basil plants that will now produce new babies and start again. I will nurture them in my little paradise behind glass that my husband so lovingly created one window at a time.
Finally I found myself walking in the cold rain, my hood pulled up over my head and I spotted bright color on the horizon. There they were, the roses. The roses I had neglected the whole summer through. I don't lie. They're full of weeds and in need of a haircut. They're dry and old looking. I always forget the roses in my eagerness to grow food. It seems the vegetables, in their short time with me, consume every moment I have to give and the roses, who come back relentlessly year after year, are all but forgotten.
The roses, they're not my favorite of flowers. I don't like getting them in a bouquet as they die too quickly. I don't like to pick them as the thorns always find my delicate skin and pierce me. I find them to be arrogant and prissy. They're needy and they like to try and steal the show from everyone else. If you didn't think too hard, if you didn't venture past their thorny exterior you might not forgive them their off putting demeanor, you might not see their hidden qualities.
I've made jelly with roses and it tasted like honey. I've made beads with dried roses that were both unique and hauntingly beautiful. I've taken hundreds of pictures of them because, even when they're not perfect, they always give a good selfie. I've dried them and added them to homemade hand cream and luxuriated in the subtle scent. I've buried my nose in them countless times and reveled in their heady perfume while my eyes closed in joy. I've marveled at their ability to come back every year after being cut clear to the ground.
It's cold outside. We've now had our second night of frost and a cold rain is falling, and, yet, my roses have decided to give me one last bit of summer to hold onto. Despite the lack of warmth I offered them all summer, despite the heat and drought the land suffered, despite their arrogant prissy nature they're willing to give. The nature of that kind of thoughtfulness is hard to deny.