The Thorn

2016-03-08_rose in jar


The Bohemian had already offered his rose cutting a greenhouse-like environment, by covering it with a Mason jar at the kitchen window. So when, on the same day, his tea bag proverb gave a respectful reminder, he took it as confirmation that he was on the right track. Ever-hopeful that this stem from my Valentine’s day rose may actually take root, the Bohemian was eyeing it, continually, for any millimeter of growth, constantly checking the dampness of the soil.

It seemed to me that he was respecting the thorn, and then some.

But then one day the stem darkened. He brought it to my attention, with concern, but I shrugged it off, suggesting that we still just wait and see. The Bohemian was skeptical.

Then one morning, while washing dishes, I glanced up to see an empty pot.

Later that afternoon, he asked “Did you see the pot?”

“Yes. Did you transplant the cutting?”

“No. I put it in the compost. It had that black stem. It just died.”

Our house sits on a steep hillside, shaded by a forest of trees. Anything that grows there survives purely on filtered sunlight and whatever rain falls. We have been surprised to discover young saplings of orange and lemon trees, and plenty of papaya starts, growing two and three feet tall amongst the undergrowth. The reason being, that past inhabitants of our home simply flung their fruit scraps, seeds and all, over the hillside. The young trees are merely volunteers, thriving survivors of a random scattering.

One can dote with full attention and still lose all. And all can arise from one carefree gesture.

Just because the Bohemian’s rose cutting didn’t make it, doesn’t mean he didn’t respect the thorn. It doesn’t signify that our true love won’t live on. In this case, I’d say it’s more about the practicals. Maybe next time he’ll use rooting powder, or try a higher quality cutting.

The poet in me does ponder the proverb and the thorn. That bitter that comes with the sweet. The full spectrum of life experience, which includes deterioration. Death.

We’ll take the thorn of defeat on this cutting. But I’m sure it’s not the last time I’ll see the Bohemian fiddling with plant life by the kitchen window, positioning glass jars, moving close to inspect, then standing back to admire, smiling all the while. Always trying to grow.