|Pre-Raphaelite painting, The Soul of the Rose, by John William Waterhouse.|
For a time, until the aphids became more than anyone could bear, the porch of my childhood home was flanked by trellises through which pink climbing roses twined. We were not a gardening people. Everything was kept tidy by professionals who trimmed the hedges and mowed. I was elected for raking, sweeping and weeding. I once grew radishes and, as I remember, a few carrots for a class project. Never again a rose of any size or description.
In the last two years, perhaps less, rose images began courting me. And I such an easy mark. Beauty nourishes me and there is something about the rose, followed by flowers in general, that produces tranquility as I fall asleep, a lightness of heart when I'm awake. There is a sense akin to having made a new friend, one in whom affection and steadfastness are never doubted, whose ability to cheer does not falter.
I have reached and passed the age my sister once referred to as "powder-faced lady" from her long career in fashion and retail among the dowagers of Pasadena. As I picture them there is a hint of rose scent in their powder. I imagine a cut glass globe vase of the old varieties, petals loose and dreamy, not tightly furled like florist bouquets. A few petals have fallen, attractively, to the surface of a round, marble-topped table in the foyer, standing between twin staircases that curve to a second-floor balcony. Old world blossoms encouraged by loving hands.
So it is that I prowl Google's image library, entering the most accurate descriptions I can invent for what I hope to find, like rose-patterned socks.