Miss Rose Who Sits By the Ditch

I think that one day I can be like this grand, old lady. Dignified in her imperfection. Lovely in God’s sight. Fierce and uncompromising. The grandiflora sits on the edge of a ditch, that long ago wasn’t an edge at all, but time changes everything including the size of necessary ditches. Still, there she is holding fast. Anchored sideways and leaning a bit by the considerable trunk. Been around for a while. Ever grizzled but never grafted to another thing but herself. She sticks her old-lady toes deeply into the soil, holding on tight. She has no discernible past, not that it doesn’t exist but that it no longer matters and it certainly isn’t an identifying feature. If she chose to share her secrets, don’t the tales of carnal fits from the aged seem more like grand fiction? Some things are better left to the imagination, anyway. Years progress and she’s certainly not the same, but she’s more than she was. Last year, I pruned her as nicely as I could, to brighten her up a bit. She only bit me twelve times. Tore a good shirt, too. Obstinate thing. This old rose by the street gutter is tenacious. There are scars. There is fragility. I look her in the face and she gazes back into me. I can’t guess if she’ll endure another year. She hasn’t promised me that. The old, gnarled soul is here today. Her mark on the world are ancient ruffles and fragrance on a limping frame; one you’ll remember if the wind catches just right or you squeeze in closely and get to know her. Do it carefully, though. The girl still bites.

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