Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I Fought the Rose and the Rose Won

A Cecile Brunner rosebud

I went to war against a Cecile Brunner rose yesterday afternoon and I'm not sure who won. Today I'm injured: three stab wounds in my hands, one in my arm, two festering thorns in my fingers, and a new, incredible pain that shoots from my lower back down my thighs. The Cecile Brunner looks fine. It's an antique climbing rose with canes that arc up and over the garden fence, and it's trying to take over the patio.

It started out pleasantly enough. I'm on a pruning binge after neglecting everything since my mother died. All the herbal shrubs, the sage, rosemary, and lavender that were outgrowing their spaces, got whacked in half. The stringy-looking rock rose shrub now looks like a bonsai tree, with its gnarly little branches all tidy and peppered with specks of new growth. Next to it, the Cecile Brunner flailed all over the place and seemed to beg for discipline, which I, with my pruning shears, gladly supplied. And supplied. And kept on supplying.

My husband emerged after dark to ask why I was out on the patio yelling "You suck!" every ten minutes. Cecile Brunner is a "nearly thornless rose" as they tell you in the garden books, but when you are wrestling with them, they pull thorns out of nowhere and stab you. And those thorns, I swear, are coated with some sort of poison that burns like fire when it penetrates your skin. So every time the rose stabbed me, I yelled, "You suck!" in pain.

But Joe's question sobered me up. Why was I out there after dark having a sword fight with the Cecile Brunner? I was a madwoman, that's why. The more the rose hurt me, the more I hacked at it. I had turned a helpful, peaceful act into a battle of will, and of course I was losing.

In the zen of pruning roses, you and the rose cooperate. Your job is to study the rose. The rose reveals its structural lines and you help it to grow along those lines. In struggling to dominate the Cecile Brunner, I had broken the law of thermodynamics. (Just kidding.) I had broken the social contract of the gardener and the rose, and I was being an idiot.

Living in recovery has made it possible for me to admit when I'm wrong. Likewise, when I recognize I'm doing something insane, I can stop it. Trying to exercise my will over a rose is just as disrespectful, and just as futile, as trying to exercise my will over a human being.

So I put down my shears, went inside, and nursed my wounds. Even my back feels better now. It feels good enough, in fact, now that I'm up and around, that I'm going outside to make amends with the Cecile Brunner.


The Bug said...

This happens to me all the time. It's 11:00 & I'm fighting with the printer (not that the printer & I have a social contract about how to interact with each other). Dr. M gets very annoyed - just do it in the morning! Of course, he's just as bad, muttering at Farmville when we should have been in bed an hour ago.

When you said that your husband came out to ask why you were yelling "you suck" I started giggling & couldn't stop. Such a delicious image for me for some reason. Sorry!

Magpie said...

I'm glad you're up to tending to your garden...in more ways than one. I love your ability to stop and step outside of yourself and take a look at what's going on and make changes.

TechnoBabe said...

It is a beautiful rose plant and I am glad you came to terms with it. You got a lot of work done and after you make amends, you will be happy with the yield of roses next year.

Brian Miller said...

ah i like the zen moment there...it backed me down fom going to get the axe to prune with...smiles.

Indigo said...

I have those conversations of, "You Suck" at least once a day with something or other. I'm getting better at nicer retorts. The cat menagerie definitely pushes my buttons. Yet, these gentle animals always remind me there is so much more to life. Peace is a hard template to constantly enforce in our lives. I'm thinking, landing somewhere in the middle is a fairly well lived journey. (Hugs)Indigo

Monkey Man said...

The Cecile Brunner is Mrs. MM's favorite rose. But I'm with you. They get a tad weedy and love to take over the world. Great Story.

steveroni said...

Just as I was about to ask if you're considering making amends to the 'Brunner'...you threw out that last line of your post.

I hope the roses understand that you are not just saying, "I'm sorry". But that you are determined to change your pruning habit--for the better.

Maybe the rose bush should consider Alanon?

Hey, I'm just GLAD to witness your (and my) good mood recovering
No Matter What!

Steve E

Dianne said...

What a coincidence, I am writing about my rose as well. Can you believe what the early rain did to our flowers?!
I thought the one red rose bush was done done done, after 2-3 runs of 4 flowers or so. nope, now it came back with 8-10.

I'll get the system to download the Tuesday Toes tomorrow. See ya at the Poet's Night Out on Thursday!

Shadow said...

a life lesson brought on by pruning, who would guess?!?!?!

Woman in a Window said...

And I just safely hated the cedars. See what projecting can get you?

I laugh. But your rose is beautiful.

I marvel at how it is we slowly return to life and its ways after a huge life shift, whether it be the loss of a loved one or for me, the loss of a marriage.


marie said...

ok, this was the best story I have read all morning. I could so see myself yelling at a rose, too. great analogy to recovery, also.

I can't stop laughing at Steve's comment about the rose going to Al-Anon...from the way your story went, the rose sounds like she might already have a homegroup and be sponsoring other roses.

Thanks for the smiles this morning. ((hugs))

Nana Jo said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has these kinds of conversations. You're as beautiful as your rose.

Andrew said...

Some of creation cannot be tamed.

I think plants have a will that equals a humans.

Marla said...

Oh my gosh...the yelling "You Suck" at the rose...I so love you! LOL