Lentin Rose

Lent had come.  A time for purging.  Self-examination.  Discarding.   My kids had each given up something…  Popcorn shrimp… playstation…. coke….  They often asked what I had chosen.  I couldn’t answer honestly.  What I had given up, was simply taken.  Slowly, relentlessly…. my “lent” had lasted for a couple of years.  But today was Easter.  Today, I stood in front of the house that had not been my home for almost a year.  It stood there… a symbol of my family…. alone… empty. A few odd and end things in the cellar.  The kids and their mother had gone and this was the day I was supposed to gather the left behind belongings…again.  I sat on the porch and wondered if my kids where having fun, hunting eggs, running around the farm…  Across the front yard, tiny leaves had popped out of my Oak Leaf Hydrangaea.  They are going to be huge this year.

I thought of a place on the mountain, accessible only by foot or ATV.  Open hardwoods…grassy beds… a view of the valley and across to Lookout Mountain. I simply wanted to be there… immediately.  Out of this place… lying in the wild Fern, staring up at the spring sky. I had been there many times.  Throughout my childhood, I often escaped to the solitude of the wood to seek out a place where I could not hear the noise of this world…… or be touched by the hands of this place……  I often found a place to simply sit under an oak, listening to what the wind had to say…  the trees….  the earth.  I listened to her silent language.

Annabelle took her first steps in this house….  Baker owned the neighborhood, roaming on his skateboard and bike.  Across the narrow road, the field, then the woods, Shoal Creek below.  Whitetail, raccoons… we’ve seen and chased them all.  My childrens’ memories.  What will they carry from this place?  What gets left behind?  I began picking up tools from the cellar and loading them into the truck.  Quiet.  No sound of my kids playing.  No barking dog.  Just this empty house, watching me while I try to ignore her.  What is the measure of success? Of failure? I had given my all.

The last trip around the house to the outbuilding…  They almost called out to me. I had not noticed them.  Dozens and dozens of Lentin Roses. Blooming.  Pastel pinks and white. They stood alone against a dormant background.  The envy of the mountain laurel, the peonies, hydrangaea.  I stopped to look at them.  It occurred to me, Lent was over.  This was Easter sunday.  I picked seven roses.  Perfect ones.  As I drove out of the neighborhood, I said a short prayer over each rose, then let one fly out the window.  Her soft petals disappeared behind the truck and she was gone.  The Lentin Rose…. a new beginning.. a rebirth… symbolic of what we had left behind… of coming out of lent a better person.  Stronger, perhaps.  Wiser, maybe….  Within hours, I was in the Fern…. in that place.  Unreachable.  Staring up at a spring sky.   Boots off… Daydreaming.

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