My father loved roses. At one point, he had over a hundred hybrid tea rose bushes in his yard. He pruned them and fed them and, from the time I was small, he taught me to care for them, too.
A couple of years before he died, my father moved from Malibu to Lompoc, California. His Lompoc house had far less room for gardening than his former home, so when he moved, two dozen of his roses moved as well. We dug them up carefully, wrapped the roots in damp newspaper and plastic to keep them moist, and I drove them north in a rental van to my home in Sacramento.
In the years since my father passed away, his roses have bloomed and flourished. When they bloom each spring, they remind me of the hours I spent with him in the garden. In some ways, their presence keeps a piece of him alive in more than memory.
Once in a while, one of his favorites sends out an unusually lovely set flowers – the kind he would have grabbed his camera to photograph at their peak. When I see them, it feels as if my dad is sending a special message: “Life is special. The roses are lovely. Enjoy them both as much as you can.”
When I left my house this morning, Dad’s roses perfumed the air, and a trio of perfect blooms adorned one of his favorite plants.
Thanks for the reminder, Dad.
And with all due respect to Shakespeare, nothing else, by any name, could possibly smell as sweet to me today.