Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Have you seen...

I remember the sharp pain well.
Walking too quickly to be able to stop dead in my tracks, the nasty, reaching cane of a Multiflora Rose had snagged my cheek and, with my forward motion, torn a path across it. I suppose I should have been glad, later imagining the possibilities of such a run-in, that it was not my eye, caught and held with its strong, curved thorn. Weeks later, only the faintest mark remained.
But the sting of a rose is like any other betrayal.
A lesson is always learned.

First leaves on canes
in early Spring

Multiflora Rose, Rosa multiflora
Summer Blossoms

I have grown wiser, now, and move gingerly among them. Better to avoid all contact, than to think a glancing touch will fall aside. Coverings of heavy denim or leather offer only false protection. For the arching stems easily latch on and, once in the midst of them, as in quicksand, struggle is futile.

But, on this wintry day, when all else has faded to brown, I find my eye caught on them.

Rose hips of Multiflora Rose
in Autumn Field

The rose hips,
brightly glossed in morning light,
where bumbling bees last summer visited
the clusters of tender white flowers
that covered these long reaching canes,
in winter,
grace the field in red.

Multiflora Rose,
Winter canes

"Have you seen...." is an effort to discover the unusual beauty in things not usually appreciated for their beauty.

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KGMom said...

Nina--lovely post on the eternal tandem of great beauty and subtle danger.

giggles said...

So...that's what a "rose hip" looks like, when not in a form that a peri-menopausal women ingests for relief from symptoms?!

Beautiful. Your mission is accomplished in my eyes....

Happy, happy, merry, merry....

Cynthia said...

I've been in my own tangle of thorns many times; it is from a distance that you can reflect on their beauty.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Beautifully written and illustrated, Nina. Thank you.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, and a blessed and happy new year.

Beverly said...

I solved the problem with a very large, slightly double-flowered (in pink clusters), almost constantly in bloom from spring to fall, hardy climber (a 'found' rose from Canada) that is nearly thornless! It has a lovely scent to boot.

Google 'Victorian Memory'...I recently planted three that I got from my favorite rosarian "High Country Roses"...

I love to mix this rose in (always on it's own roots; no 'tea' roses for me!) with the native perennials and grasses and small trees I'm planting for the birds.

swamp4me said...

Multiflora is not tolerated around here. When I see it, I remove it. Nasty stuff and a crazy invasive. Work swamp or home, it's got to go. Much better to have the Carolina rose and swamp rose, natives both, providing those nutritious hips.

NCmountainwoman said...

Beautiful poetic post that rings so true. Great insight put to lovely words.

Lynne said...


Merry Christmas Nina.

Deborah Godin said...

A throuoghly lovely post, and your mission was beautifully accomplished! Much meaning and life wisom is hidden in those buds and blooms and thorns!

Paul said...

When I think of multiflora rose I think of poison ivy. I used to clean the roses from fence lines and always came away with posion ivy. Regardless, they are beautiful.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This post is a particularly good one Nina. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Nice post, Nina.. George grows roses---so he gets his share of scratches!!! Tis Life!!!

Merry Christmas.

Cynthia said...

Nina, I've tagged you to tell "six random things" about yourself. I would enjoy your answers.

Julie Zickefoose said...

I've found, in trying to cut it, that multiflora always gets its dig in. And yes, trying to get out of it just makes it work, the thorns are so strongly hooked--you struggle like a fish.

I took a romp through the woods today and got caught in it. I was wearing my favorite new stretchy action pants (some kind of synthetic blend) and those thorns went right through them. I snorted and thought, "I might as well be wearing pantyhose for all the good these stupid pants are doing me here!"

Misty Dawn said...

I was going to send you an e-mail, but I don't see your e-mail address posted. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog and your appreciation of everything nature. I also REALLY, REALLY, like the idea behind "Have you seen...." - would you mind if I did some "Have you seen...." posts and linked back to you, giving you credit for the idea? PLUS, you're from Ohio - which makes you even more fantastic. :-D (Ohio is my home state - lived in Northeast Ohio until June of 2007).