I try to name you, as though this were an easy thing, and quickly run into contortions. Your soft petals are like the skin of a new born that slides across my fingers like silk, and that I dare not try to catch lest I ruin the flow. Like water that cannot be held, they elude naming.
Were you the first to open in my garden this spring that seems like high summer? I’ve been waiting and watching to catch the first opening bud, so that I can call you something, as though pressing a loud button in a game show; waiting since last year when you and the others wilted and your last flowers froze with open mouths in still deaths at the first frost. Instead I slept last night as you pushed back your encasement, even if night in this land retreats to the point of a needle in summer. I soared on the wings of a dream through my imaginings of what you would become, but now that I see you, I know you are more than a dream can manage.
I look around and see your cousins still holding their petals in tight buds, like a woman’s taut up-do waiting to be released from hair spray and pins. Up on top, just under the roof ledge, two of your siblings have opened, and cry to the heavens like amateur opera singers. You are the quiet brave one, opening surely in the shade of leaves, keeping your color, not selling out to the bleach-hot sun.
The aroma of lilac wafts regal purple through the garden, but inside your buds - those countless change agents - is a new time that will come when it chooses. It will take us by storm and transform everything as we knew it in this garden, a microcosm of the world. You are young and shy, but unmistakably like a smell I don’t know that I’ll try to call peach or something inadequate like classic soap. Eventually, when all of your petals are open and I pass under your archway, it will be as though it is all I have ever known. Your fresh pink face, like grandmother’s begonias, and your lemon curd yellow heart will form me for a time, until that becomes old time.
No past isn’t a part of me, and, just as a reminder, you’ll come again in late summer. You hang on, my marathon rose. In your persistence, my own becomes less irritating.